Brixton Crush: Harry Styles gig "overcrowded", fans say

By John Simpson Senior Reporter, Investigations,
and Sophie Peachey Producer

“20 people that I know for a fact got in without a ticket" - Simona Todisco, 28

Fans of Harry Styles got into Brixton Academy without tickets and caused dangerous overcrowding in the venue months before a crush killed two people, concertgoers told The News Movement.

Videos posted at the time show fans bragging about getting in for free and using friends’ tickets after security allegedly failed to scan them. One fan even said her mother got in for free after arriving to pick her up. 
Harry stopped the show in May to ensure a fan who had collapsed could get help and one fan said there were other similar incidents with fans fainting being sick. 

"Everyone else good?" Harry asks the crowd

TNM investigates

TNM  has looked again at what happened on the night after the deaths of Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, and Gaby Hutchinson, 23, after people forced the doors at the O2 Academy on December 15, 2022, causing a crush inside. 
Simona Todisco, 28, said she was among the lucky few to secure a ticket when they went on sale and waited in line outside the academy for two days to ensure she would be at the front.
“About four songs in I physically could not move,” she told TNM, adding that as a professional carer she had raised concerns about disabled fans being put at the front beside the barricade without protection. 
“I know of I think 20 people that I know for a fact that got in without a ticket and also queuing with us there were two girls that they had no ticket and they got in because I physically saw them standing a few rows behind me.”
Some fans said they had managed to buy tickets for the sold out gig on the day, stories which echo the accounts of others who say they have attended gigs at the venue.

Simona was at Harry's one-night only Brixton Academy show

The whistleblower

A whistleblower who was working for the security contractor, AP Security, at the O2 on the night that Gaby and Rebecca died has told the BBC that some staff made up to £1,000 a night and would walk fans up to the door after taking bribes.
"When you let a few people in, they would text their friends, and they'll text their friends,” the whistleblower claimed.
"And the bouncers started being greedy, and it got out of hand. And people wanted to come in anyway, without a ticket.”
TNM has spoken to a fan who attended another gig who said he witnessed “handoffs” of unscanned paper tickets to touts who then sold them for cash.

“I have never seen anything happen like what happened that day in the academy”

Describing her night at the Harry Styles gig, Simona added: “I really got the feeling that there were way too many people when it finished and we needed to get out because it took us more than 20 minutes to get out.
“I heard a lot of people saying they got in without tickets. I think that in this case because there are so many young girls that are Harry Styles fans… I just think security let them in because they thought it wouldn’t be an issue. 
“I know someone - quite a few people - that said they bought the ticket on the day, which shouldn’t happen. When we were queuing they said that there were no tickets on the day.
“I have never seen anything happen like what happened that day in the academy,” she said. “Looking back, as much as I had a good time, I wouldn’t go again. Luckily at the Harry Styles gig, except for fainting, no-one got hurt.”
The Academy has offered its condolences to the families of the two people who died and said it is working to assist the police and the Security Industry Authority in their enquiries into what happened on the night. The venue did not respond to specific questions about bribes or the Harry Styles gig.
AP Security has not responded to requests for comment.