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Behind the Asake O2 Academy Brixton Tragedy

The recent tragedies following Asake’s O2 Academy Brixton concert have left questions in the minds of many. At the time of writing this, there have been 2 deaths related to the injuries sustained at the crowd crush outside the venue of the concert and, the questions raised have been geared towards Asake as people want to understand what happened. Since then, Asake took to social media to release a statement regarding the incident; expressing his deepest sorrows and intent to discover what led to the disastrous events that night. It seems that he himself is also awaiting answers. It might be a bit odd for regular concertgoers to understand why the artist himself does not seem to have any understanding of what might have occurred at his own show.

Keep in mind that this is not Asake’s first concert that ended badly and caused fan outrage; his show in Birmingham days prior had similar issues. His concert in Baltimore, Maryland during the American leg of his tour in October had a lot of security risks and was eventually overrun with fans after the gate was compromised. A lot of Asake’s explanations have mentioned organisers and venue managers as the reasons behind these incidents.  This article will provide likely explanations for what caused the incident and the role promoters and venue managers have to play in it.

Who is a Promoter?

A concert promoter is in charge of organising and promoting live music events such as concerts, tours and festivals. They work closely with managers, artists and venue owners to book and schedule performances, negotiate contracts, and handle all the logistics and finances concerning the show. This means they are responsible for marketing, advertising and ticket sales. They might outsource these tasks to companies who specialise in them (e.g. ticket sales) but ultimately, the promoter is the one who delegates these activities. The artist’s role is to show up and fulfil their performance; they can also promote the show to the best of their ability but it is not their responsibility. Often we see errors in concerts where people show up without tickets or attain fake tickets to enter concerts under false pretences. Sometimes, promoters oversell tickets to generate greater profit which then puts attendees at risk. Before the concert,  Asake put out a warning via Twitter, urging fans to not show up without a valid ticket. His warning was not heeded.

What was the O2 Academy Brixton’s role in this?

The O2 Academy in Brixton apparently has a history of problematic concerts. The venue which has a standing capacity of 4,921 ought to have had tighter security than it did the day of the incident. Their issues with security lapses have been indicated on previous occasions like during the Fred Again performance a week before Asake’s scheduled show. Attendees expressed security concerns as some people claimed that they witnessed security letting in too many people. Another complaint came sometime in March during a Slowthai concert; an attendee claimed to have seen security at the venue taking money from people to be let in. These errors in carrying out the proper security measures can put tons at risk. People who were present the night of the Brixton crowd crush say they saw the venue fill up before the intended performance time. There is speculation that people were let in through misleading means. The O2 Academy Brixton currently has its licence suspended until January 16th when a proper hearing will take place to decide the site’s ability to hold safe events.

Ahmed ‘Asake’ Ololade is a 27- year old afrobeats artist who shot to new levels of fame this year. His hit songs this year include “Sungba” “Peace Be Unto You” and “Terminator”.

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