Singer-songwriter Asake has said his “heart is with those who were injured” in an apparent crowd crush at his concert in south London. Three people remain in a critical condition, the Metropolitan Police said, after a total of eight were taken to hospital from the O2 Academy Brixton by ambulance on Thursday night.
Two who were less seriously injured were treated at the scene. One person has been arrested on suspicion of
The Nigerian Afrobeats artist said in a statement on Instagram: “My heart is with those who were injured last night and caused any form of discomfort. I pray you get well soonest.
“I am also in the process of reaching out to individuals. I still do not have the full brief from the venue management themselves as to what led to the disruption at the entrance of the Brixton Academy, but we are thankful that all was peaceful at the end.
“For my people who enjoyed the beginning of my performance, I am sorry that it was cut short. Thank you for your unbelievable love, London. I love you too much! I’m looking forward to seeing you again in a bit!”
Asake, whose real name is Ahmed Ololade, was recently nominated for BBC Radio 1’s Sound of 2023 award, for artists breaking through in the UK. Lambeth Police said they are urgently investigating what happened in the “extremely upsetting incident”.
They said emergency services attended the venue in Stockwell Road following reports shortly after 9.30pm of injuries after “a large crowd attempted to gain entry without tickets”. Scotland Yard said police officers, London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade attended the scene and found “a number of people with injuries believed to have been caused by crushing”.
Metropolitan Police Gold Commander Ade Adelekan urged people to “be sensible about what they share” on social media and “not to post material that will be upsetting to those affected by this incident”. He also said that, where force has been used by officers, “those officers know they have to be accountable for their actions”.
He added that the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards will look at all material, including body-worn video footage from those at the scene. Police said no arrests have been made.
Ahead of the gig, Asake had posted on Twitter asking fans not to come to the venue unless they had a valid ticket. The concert was the third of three sold-out dates at the 4,921-standing capacity venue and concluded a run of UK dates.
A woman involved in the crush, who spoke to the BBC after being admitted to hospital with suspected internal bleeding, said: “I couldn’t breathe and I completely passed out. I thought I was dead.”
“I took my last breath and I could not get any more oxygen. I was so scared.
“I was just queuing up to give them my ticket and then the crowd out here was insane, they just came and pushed and I just fell down.”
John, 32, who lives next to the O2 and declined to give his surname, said police arrived after the gig was cancelled. “I saw everyone at the front door of Brixton Academy, (then) everything just stopped,” he said.
“It looked like the gig had been cancelled, and then some commotion, some pushing and shoving, and the police came shortly after. That’s when it kicked off and became aggressive.”
He added: “You could tell there was tension.” He said people trying to get into the O2 had broken the glass of the front doors.
“People at the front of the Brixton Academy were really pushing and shoving and trying to break through the door and force their way in,” he said. “The glass of the doors was broken.”
Footage posted online showed large crowds outside the building, with many people holding up mobile phones and filming the scene. In other video content, the crowd inside the venue could be heard booing when an announcement was made from the stage saying the show was being stopped.
Text posted alongside another video claimed there had been “grown adults bumping doors”.
The Met’s Mr Adelekan said: “This is an extremely upsetting incident which has left four people critically ill in hospital. My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.
“A police investigation has been launched, and it will be as thorough and as forensic as necessary to establish exactly what happened last night. The scene will be examined by specialist officers, CCTV will be viewed, every witness that we can make contact with will be spoken to, and all other lines of inquiry will be followed.
“Officers are remaining in the area to provide reassurance to the local community in and around Brixton. If you have any information or concerns, please speak with them.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: “My thoughts are with all those affected by the awful incident at Brixton Academy. Eight people were taken to hospital, with four in critical condition.
“An urgent investigation is under way and I remain in close contact with the Met Commissioner since last night.” Referring to a clip he said had been “widely shared”, Mr Adelekan confirmed no police dogs were deployed to the location.
Police have appealed for witnesses to get in touch and anyone with mobile phone footage that might be helpful to make contact through @MetCC on Twitter. Asake was described on the venue’s website as “one of the hottest breakout stars from Nigeria” and is touring his debut album, Mr. Money With The Vibe.