Petition to save Brixton Academy passes 25,000 signatures

South London concert venue has been closed since December after two people died in a crowd crush

Nicole Vassell
Saturday 29 April 2023 12:37 BST
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Brixton Academy crush: Large crowd gathers outside venue as Asake gig cancelled

A petition to keep Brixton Academy in operation has gained more than 25,000 signatures.

The south London venue, which has been a popular concert location since 1983, has been closed since two people died in a crowd crush in December.

Concert-goer Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, and security worker Gaby Hutchinson, 23, died outside the scheduled gig of Afrobeats star, Asake. A third person also incurred critical injuries.

Since the tragic event, the venue licence has been under police review. In January, it was announced that Brixton Academy would remain closed for at least three months.

On 17 April, the Metropolitan Police said it had “lost confidence” in Academy Music Group, the venue’s operator, and recommended that Lambeth Council permanently revoke the licence.

In response, a petition was started by live music supporter Stuart O’Brien to stand up for Brixton Academy’s survival.

“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!” O’Brien writes in the description. He adds that the venue’s closure “would also have a devastating effect on the local economy”.

As of noon on Saturday (29 April), at least 28,400 people have added their names to the campaign.

Brixton Academy
Brixton Academy (Getty)

On Twitter, music fans have shared the petition, along with the hashtag #SaveBrixtonAcademy.

“Brixton Academy is a vital part of the London Music scene,” reads one message. “It's an act of extreme cultural vandalism to suggest that the venue should close, rather than solving an issue faced by all other music venues.”

Others have called the venue “the heart of Brixton” and have noted this as a potential loss to footfall and business in the area.

“Feels so heavy-handed, and nightlife bearing the brunt again,” writes Guy Hornsby, a DJ. “A great venue with so much history.”

Prior to the Met Police’s recent recommendation, Lambeth Council held a meeting to discuss the venue’s licence and called for AMG to provide an amended application.

The next council meeting is due to be held on 15 May, where the potential future of Brixton Academy will be under discussion.

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