Music

London’s O2 Academy Brixton to Reopen in April, More Than a Year After Deadly Crowd Crush

London’s O2 Academy Brixton is set to reopen in April, more than a year after two people died and several people were seriously injured during a crowd stampede outside the venue.

Security guard Gaby Hutchinson and Rebecca Ikumelo were killed when fans without tickets tried to force their way into a sold-out concert by Nigerian singer Asake on Dec. 15, 2022.

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A 22-year-old woman injured on the night remains in the hospital in critical condition. A police investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The famous South London venue, which has a capacity of just under 5,000 and has previously played host to everyone from David Bowie to Lady Gaga to The Clash, had faced the threat of permanent closure after the Metropolitan Police urged the local council to remove its license in the wake of the crush.

Following a two-day hearing last September, Lambeth Council ruled that the venue would be allowed to host live music events again, but “only once it is compliant” with 77 new safety conditions, including stronger doors, new crowd management systems and new security and management.

During the hearing, much of which was held in private, it was revealed that O2 Academy Brixton owner and operator Academy Music Group (AMG) had spent £1.2 million ($1.5 million) on maintenance and improvements to the building during the period it was closed to the public.

At the time of the council’s decision, the venue’s owner, Academy Music Group (AMG), which runs 18 music venues across the United Kingdom, said it was “committed to ensuring” the tragic events of Dec. 15 “can never be repeated.”

In a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday (Mar. 4), the venue announced that it will be reopening Friday, Apr. 19 with performances by tribute bands Nirvana UK and The Smyths, followed a week later by concerts from Definitely Mightbe (an Oasis tribute band) and the UK Foo Fighters.

Upcoming shows by The Black Keys and British indie rock band Editors, both scheduled for May, were also announced Monday.

“This is a significant moment not only for the venue itself but for the entire live music industry,” said Michael Kill, CEO of industry trade group the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), in a statement welcoming the news.

“Brixton Academy holds a special place in the hearts of music lovers, artists, and industry professionals alike,” said Kill, adding: “Its reopening marks a symbolic resurgence of the night-time economy, signalling a return to the vibrant cultural landscape we all enjoy.”

Prior to last year’s council hearing, more than 110,000 people signed an online petition to save the historic venue, which first opened in 1929 as a cinema and began hosting live music gigs in the early 1980s.

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