In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, many have looked forward to a return to normalcy. Attending concerts and music festivals has been one of the most highly sought-after activities after pandemic-related restrictions have slowly been lifted. While there have been several events this year that have gone smoothly and without disruption, the return of Houston’s popular Astroworld music festival resulted in the chaos that left at least ten attendees dead and hundreds injured.
2021 Astroworld Festival Leaves 10 Dead and Hundreds Injured
Created in 2018 by popular rap artist and Houston native Travis Scott, Astroworld quickly became a popular event for Houstonians and others across the nation to attend. Put on by Scott and Live Nation Entertainment, the two-day music festival has featured numerous popular acts performing with Scott closing out the event each year on its main stage. While the inaugural 2018 concert and subsequent festival in 2019 largely went off without a hitch, its return in 2021 resulted in a mass casualty event that is being investigated by local, state, and federal agencies.
On Friday, November 5th at NRG Park, the festival began in the early afternoon with excited festivalgoers eager to catch some of their favorite musical acts. Amid the excitement, however, disruptions began right away. Some attendees broke down barricades at the entrance of the festival to rush in. In addition, the New York Times describes a festivalgoer’s account of the event being hectic from the beginning with people already having trouble standing up straight in the packed crowds and fights breaking out as many queued up for various musical acts, food, and merchandise. Despite early extremely problematic activities, the event was allowed to continue and eventually hit a devastating turning point just before Scott took the stage as the final act around 9:00 PM.
As many who attended AstroFest have recounted, as attendees gathered for Scott’s performance, many began ruthlessly pushing forward, with some even opting to climb over other attendees in the crowd to get as close to the stage as possible. This culminated just before Scott began, as the stage displayed a ten-second countdown, prompting crazed movement in the massive 50,000-person audience. The crush of the crowd was so intense that it left no room for attendees to move. This left those who desperately wanted to get out of the excessively compressed crowd unable to, and resulted in others being trampled over and stomped on.
Panic and disruption quickly broke out during Scott’s performance, as a wave of unstoppable bodies was unable to be held back. Some attendees collapsed as others continued to fight for air. Amid the chaos, concertgoers had no choice but to begin lifting the unconscious bodies of others to hopefully crowd-surf them out to safety. Others shouted continuously for help and pleaded with Scott, security, and even camera operators to stop the show. Unfortunately, their pleas were ignored and the concert continued without even a pause for at least 37 minutes – long after police and other officials had deemed it a mass casualty event.
According to the Houston Chronicle, more than 300 people were treated at NRG Park’s field hospital throughout the day due to heat exhaustion, alcohol poisoning, and overdoses. In the end, seventeen people were taken to the hospital in critical condition, with ten now confirmed dead – the youngest just 9 years old.
A History of Violent Incidents
As tragic as the events that occurred at this year’s Astroworld festival are, this isn’t the first time that Travis Scott or Live Nation Entertainment have come under fire for inciting disruptive behavior or having inadequate security and inadequate safety measures in place.
Since his early beginnings in 2010, Scott quickly earned himself a reputation for concerts that feature high-concept stage production, while also creating a wild, chaotic atmosphere that often results in violence. In 2015 for instance, Scott pleaded guilty to charges of reckless conduct after encouraging fans at Chicago’s Lollapalooza to climb over security barricades and onto the stage. Just two years later, Scott was sued by a fan that attended his Manhattan concert after he became paralyzed from being pushed from a third-story balcony by others at the urging of Scott for them to jump into the crowd.
Live Nation Entertainment and its subsidiary Live Nation Worldwide have been linked to at least 750 injuries and around 200 deaths at events in seven countries since 2006, according to court records, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) complaints, and news reports. The company has also been under federal scrutiny for years for work safety and antitrust violations. The various tragedies that have occurred at Live Nation concerts include violent intrusions, such as a suicide bomber explosion in 2017 that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England; a mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas in 2017 that killed 60; and a terrorist attack at a concert hall in Paris where 89 people died.
Between 2016 and 2019, Live Nation was Live Nation Entertainment, and Live Nation Worldwide was cited for 10 OSHA violations and fined for serious violations, including problems with a ladder, rope, and scaffolding that caused a fall at a theater in Connecticut in 2016.
As of Monday, November 9th, there are already many pending lawsuits against Scott and an array of organizations including Live Nation that put on this year’s Astroworld Festival. It is likely that more will come as the investigation surrounding the event and what went wrong continues.
Were You Injured at Astroworld?
As information continues to come in on the tragedy that occurred at Travis Scott’s Astroworld 2021 festival, many attendees are likely to come forward with their own harrowing experiences. If you attended the event and were injured, there are several ways you can work to hold those responsible for their gross negligence accountable. Those who were injured are encouraged to keep and maintain all hospital or medical records as well as ticket stubs and VIP passes. This will help to prove you were indeed at the event when the incident occurred. In addition, any photos or videos that were taken at the event should also be maintained to display how the chaos unfolded and whether any safety measures were taken or protocols were observed by staff to mitigate further death or injury.
The events that unfolded at the 2021 Astroworld music festival are incredibly devastating and should never have happened. Whether you attended the event and were injured or are a family member of someone that was injured, the nationally recognized trial lawyers of The Krist Law Firm, P.C. are here to help. Contact our office today for more information.