Business News Legal Top Stories
By Chris Cooke | Published on Tuesday 29 August 2023
The future of the Brixton Academy will be considered at a two day licensing hearing later this month. Councillors will consider whether Live Nation’s Academy Music Group should be allowed to continue running the South London venue following last year’s crowd crush incident in which two people died.
The Night Time Industries Association says that the upcoming meeting of Lambeth Council’s licensing sub-committee will be a “critical moment” for the venue, adding that the Brixton Academy and AMG will “require as much support as possible throughout this hearing”.
Concert-goer Rebecca Ikumelo and Gaby Hutchinson, who was part of the security team at the venue, both died during the crowd crush, which occurred at a sold-out Asake gig at the Brixton Academy last December. A third person remains in a serious condition in hospital.
The venue has been closed ever since the incident, with London’s Metropolitan Police recommending that Lambeth Council revoke AMG’s licence to operate the building. Officers criticised the live music company’s response to the crowd crush and its proposals for safely re-opening the venue, adding that they had “lost confidence in the premises licence holder”.
AMG countered that it had “co-operated fully with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council since the tragedy at Brixton occurred”, and that it had “presented detailed proposals that we believe will enable the venue to re-open safely”.
Confirming the two-day hearing later this month, a post on Lambeth Council’s website on Friday stated: “The shocking incident at the venue claimed the lives of two people and left a third in a critical condition. A full licensing hearing must take place before any proposals to re-open the venue can be considered”.
“A two day licensing hearing to consider the future of the venue’s licence will be held at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton on 11 Sep and 12 Sep”, it then explained. “The meeting, of Lambeth’s licensing sub-committee, will be attended by key parties, including the venue’s representatives and the Metropolitan Police, and will be streamed online”.
“There are currently two outstanding [licensing] applications in relation to the venue”, it added, “a licence variation submitted by the venue’s operator and a licence review submitted by the Metropolitan Police, both of which will be considered by the licensing sub-committee meeting”.
Commenting on last year’s crowd crush incident and the upcoming review, Lambeth Councillor Mahamed Hashi said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Rebecca Ikumelo and Gaby Hutchinson who lost their lives, as well as with the person who is still in hospital, and all those suffering the trauma of witnessing such distressing scenes at one of our borough’s live music venues”.
“We are determined to use the powers we have available to us to make sure the lessons of this tragedy are learnt”, he added, “and that we never see a traumatic incident like this again in Lambeth”.
The NTIA has been working with the Save Our Scene initiative on a campaign in support of the Brixton Academy, urging Lambeth Council to ensure that the venue re-opens.
It said last week: “We have finally received the news that the licensing review hearing will take place on the 11/12 Sep 2023 in Lambeth Town Hall. This is a critical moment for the venue as it will determine its future, and will require as much support as possible throughout this hearing”.
NTIA urged as many of the venue’s supporters as possible to request to speak during the hearing. The trade group stated: “We are asking as many people as possible to respond and request the opportunity to speak at the hearing. The more voices and people attending the stronger the representation”.