Brixton Academy: More than 50,000 support saving ‘iconic’ music venue under threat after crowd crush tragedy | UK News

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More than 50,000 people support saving an “iconic” music venue in London, which was forced to close because of safety concerns after two people died in a crowd crush.

A petition calling for the O2 Brixton Academy to reopen has surpassed 50,000 signatures.

Two people – Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, and Gaby Hutchinson, 23 – died in hospital from their injuries after the crush outside the venue during a gig by Afrobeat artist Asake on 15 December 2022.

Ten people were treated at the scene by the London Ambulance Service on the night of the overcrowding. Eight of them were taken to hospital for further care.

Lambeth Council ordered the venue to shut in December by suspending its licence. The Metropolitan Police had asked the council to act and now supports closing Brixton Academy for good.

On 16 January, the academy’s licence was suspended for three months by Lambeth councillors and a decision on whether to reopen the site is expected to be decided at an upcoming licensing meeting.

The organiser of the petition “Save Brixton Academy”, posted on Change.org, believes the venue can reopen without putting people at risk.

Academy Music Group (AMG), the firm which runs the venue, also argue its proposals would “enable the venue to reopen safely”.

‘What happened there was a tragedy, but caused by people’

The petition, created by Stuart O’Brien, said the venue’s closure would have a “devastating” effect on the local economy.

“Brixton Academy is an iconic London music venue and should this cease to be so, another part of the musical landscape and history is lost forever,” the petition organiser said.

He added: “What happened there was a tragedy, but caused by people.

“Revoke the security firm’s licence and bring in someone adequate recommended by the police… Bring in new security procedures including crowd control to ensure a repeat doesn’t happen.

“But let’s not turn this venue into soulless flats as would more than likely happen in the event of permanent closure.”

Mr O’Brien continued: “I personally have been to hundreds of gigs in my lifetime, many of them here and I have never once felt like safety was an issue!

“So please, let’s help keep music live and Save Brixton Academy!”

Members of well-known bands, such as Blur and The Chemical Brothers, have supported the petition.

There is also strong support for the petition on social media.

“Brixton Academy is one of the most storied music venues in London, countless legends have graced that stage along with some of our best and brightest acts today. Shutting it down would be just the latest establishment attack on the arts in the UK,” journalist Roisin O’Connor said on Twitter.

Metropolitan Police supports full Brixton Academy closure

Momentum to support the petition gathered pace in April, when it was revealed that the Metropolitan Police supports a full closure of the venue.

The force has apparently lost confidence in its operators to run events safely.

The Met said in a statement: “On 14 April, the Met police submitted an application for a review of [the] premises licence to Lambeth Council and will be seeking a revocation of the licence.

“This matter will be decided at a future council sub-committee hearing on a date to be confirmed.”

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