Academy closure sees 'enormous' loss of trade for Brixton pubs

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Huge blow: Brixton businesses suffering following temporary closure of academy (Credit: Getty/SolStock)
Huge blow: Brixton businesses suffering following temporary closure of academy (Credit: Getty/SolStock)

Related tags London NTIA Finance Legislation Health and safety

Brixton businesses have seen an “enormous downturn in trade” since the local academy’s closure with resident firms losing £500,000 each week.

According to figures from the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) Brixton businesses have suffered an estimated half-a-million-pounds worth of lost revenue every week since the venue’s license suspension in December 2022.

Craft Beer Co. co-founder and managing director Martin Hayes said the academy was “important to the social fabric” of Brixton, South London, with event days “extraordinary” drivers of trade for nearby businesses.

“[There’s been] an enormous downturn in trade since it closed this year; every month has been quite badly affected. It’s been a huge blow.

“Long-term, I think these things will work themselves out. It's just going to be very painful for a year or two. I just cannot believe it'll stay closed.

Hard to survive 

“I would imagine a lot of people will suffer, we’ll stick it out and wait for things to change, but for people who have just come in [to the area] and signed deals with enormous wrench, I would imagine they will find it very hard to survive”, he continued.

The academy’s temporary closure was first announced by Lambeth council following a fatal incident at the venue, resulting in its license being temporarily suspended until January this year with a meeting then planned to discuss the venues future.

Prior to the meeting in January, a spokesperson for the Academy Music Group (AMG), which owns the venue, confirmed it would voluntarily stay closed until April this year as investigations into the unfortunate incident continued.

Lambeth council then announced the establishment’s license would be suspended for three months as it reviewed licensable activities at the venue.

The iconic venue first opened in 1929 as a cinema before resurrecting as a discotheque in the 1970’s, eventually reopening as a concert hall in the 1980’s.

Since then, it has seen a diverse selection of internationally recognised acts perform, including Madonna, Lady GaGa, Coldplay, Artic Monkeys, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, the Prodigy, UB40 and many more.

Safe and effective management 

The NTIA yesterday (Thursday 11 May) announced it had joined forces with Save Our Scene and Brixton BID Launch Campaign to save the Brixton Academy as permanent closure of the academy would have “huge ramifications”.

In addition, the association claimed the venue attracted more than 650,000 people to London with more than 150 shows a year and tis permanent closure would leave a “huge void” in our cultural economy as well as a loss of jobs.

NTIA CEO 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, we 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.”


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