A hearing that occurred over two days last week has ruled in favour of the O2 Academy Brixton reopening – with conditions

The O2 Academy Brixton has had its licence suspended since Rebecca Ikumelo and Gaby Hutchinson died following a crush at an Asake gig at the venue on 15th December 2022, but it has now been announced that it will be reinstated.

On 11th and 12th September, a hearing saw the Met Police state that they were not calling for the venue (which has been a Brixton fixture since 1929) to close down, but for the license to be permanently revoked from Academy Music Group (AMG), the organisation behind it.

As well as the two fatalities caused by the crush that occurred at the end of last year, a further 10 people were injured. Investigations following the incident also revealed insufficient staffing levels, a lack of medical cover and a culture of staff taking bribes to allow non-ticketholders entry to events.

The Night Time Industries Association has been campaigning to keep the O2 Academy Brixton open, and after it was closed, a petition was set up to save the historic venue (with new security measures in place), which has been hosting gigs since the 1980s and has become one of the most iconic places to see live music in London.

As of 15th September, it’s been confirmed that Lambeth Council will allow the O2 Academy Brixton to reopen under the management of AMG. But, the venue will have to meet 77 “extensive and robust” conditions before it can do so. These include the likes of more thorough risk assessments, stronger doors, new ticketing and crowd management systems, among many others. AMG has announced that they’ll hold a series of “test events” at the O2 Academy Brixton with these new measures in place.

The Met’s investigation into the incident remains ongoing, however. In a statement on the outcome of the hearing, Councillor Dr Mahamed Hashi, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, wrote, “The investigation into whether any criminal offences have been committed is being led by the Met Police, and their work continues. Lambeth Council will do everything we can to support this police investigation so that there are answers and justice for the families of Rebecca Ikumelo and Gabrielle Hutchinson who tragically lost their lives at the Academy in December.”