The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), Save Our Scene and Brixton BID have launched a campaign to save O2 Academy Brixton from permanent closure, following the death of two people as the result of a crowd crush.
In December last year, two people died following a crowd crush at a gig from Afrobeats artist, Asake.
The venue then had its licence suspended while the Metropolitan Police continued its investigation, before the suspension was extended for a further three months. Last month, the Met called for the venue run by Academy Music Group to have its licence revoked.
Last week, it was revealed that more than 50,000 had signed a petition to save the venue from closure, and featured signatures from artists such as The Chemical Brothers and Blur’s Graham Coxon.
Now the campaign launched by the three organisations is aiding the fight to save the venue, which hosts over 150 shows a year and attracts more than 650,000 people to the UK and London annually.
Brixton’s O2 Academy has been voted NME best venue 12 times since the 1990s and hosted performances from the likes of UB40, The Clash and The Smiths in the 1980s. In 2000, Madonna performed after a seven-year hiatus and other international acts such as Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Groove Armada, Arctic Monkeys, Stormzy, Kylie Minogue, Rihanna and more have also played at the venue.
The @O2AcademyBrix is a huge part of the cultural tapestry of the UK an undeniable performance space that has touched millions of peoples lives over the course of its existence
— Brixton BID (@BrixtonBID) May 11, 2023
NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “The Brixton Academy is a huge part of the cultural economy within London and the UK, and is without doubt one of the landmark performance spaces in the world. It is responsible for shaping and nurturing artists’ careers past and present.
“The loss of this venue would be catastrophic for the industry, so would urge all involved to step forward and engage in productive and meaningful discussions, with an aim to resolve the current challenges and present a unified position on delivering the safe and effective management of this space in the future.”
Gianluca Rizzo, managing director of Brixton BID, said: “Brixton Academy is one of the most iconic music venues in the UK and beyond. Whilst artists dream about performing in Brixton, our business community is proud to be home of such venue. Not only it is one of our key cultural destinations, the Brixton Academy contributes positively to the local economy as well as opportunities for our community. We stand by the Brixton Academy.”
Save Our Scene CEO George Fleming added: “Our worry is that if the council and Government continues to undermine culture and close down venues, we could see the industry move further underground where there is not the same level of regulation or safety. All they have to do is look at what happened in the 90s.
“In this case, we are urging Lambeth Council to work with Brixton Academy on finding a constructive way to keep this sacred space open & safe for people to enjoy. It’s far too important for the local economy and our culture to close down and would set a precedent, which our sector can not afford.”