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Live Nation, the entertainment and venue company associated with Travis Scott’s Astroworld, is presently facing an influx of lawsuits from victims for their alleged negligence and gross negligence over premises liability. After several deaths have resulted from Astroworld at Houston’s NRG Park, a number of large scale actions linked to LN’s ill-preparation have been uncovered and circulating the internet, going back as far as 2006.
According to Michele Arnold, a spokesperson for Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office, we may not know the exact cause of death for the eight victims for several weeks. Additionally, as reported by CNN, the collected names of the victims have been released to the public and their families have been notified.
One of the only factors that has been connected strongly to these deaths has been the surge of the crowd. And this crowd surge has led to people as young as 14 years old dying, at least two more victims in critical condition, and much trauma from concert goers after watching lifeless bodies get trampled. According to Troy Finner, a Houston Police Chief, he’d had a direct conversation with Scott about some of his safety concerns before the concert started. He explains that amidst a global pandemic, growth of public tension, and a general lack of safety, the tragedy was all the more likely.
Reportedly, there wasn’t even a contingency plan in the case of a surging crowd, though similar problems had occurred in 2019, the last time Astroworld took place. There was a lack of crowd management, though the existing plans stated that this was necessary “from the minute the doors open[ed].” Plans described the use of “crowd management techniques… to identify potentially dangerous crowd behavior in its early stages,” though there were no specifications as to what these techniques might be.
The plans also delineated a clear chain of command, naming only the executive producer and the festival director as people with authority to stop the concert. Concert Organizers even had a code word — “smurf” — just in case a death happened to occur.
Yahoo Entertainment reports that Scott and his partner, Kylie Jenner, both had no idea what was happening until after the show had ended, and so continued recording. Scott is planning on covering all funeral costs, and he’s partnering with BetterHelp to provide free therapy to attendees. He claims to be too distraught to make any formal appearances.
A number of lawsuits have been filed against Scott and Live Nation, claiming there were not adequate security or medical services, and describing the incident as a predictable and preventable tragedy. Crowd Management Strategies founder, Paul Wertheimer, states that the events could have been avoided, saying that “fans were victims of an environment in which they could not control.”
This TMZ article goes in depth into the lawsuit filed by Manuel Souza, alleging negligence and gross negligence against Scott and Live Nation. Souza claims to have been hurt, and he cites that nothing was done to curtail or address attendees who were displaying obvious red-flags. Namely, he describes trampling as gates opened, as well as the security gates being climbed. Souza also alleges that organizers consciously allowed the show to go on, despite clear evidence that people were distraught. Though Souza couldn’t name anything in particular that blames Scott directly, he does cite the artist encouraging violence in the past.
Live Nation states that they’re working on ways to support attendees, victim’s families, and Astroworld staff.
In terms of the specific premises liability allegations, NPR discusses Live Nation’s links to hundreds of deaths and injuries over the last 15 years. The total lies somewhere around 200 deaths and 750 injuries since 2006, according to court records and OSHA. OSHA has also put multiple citations against Live Nation in the past. Live Nation is halting clean up at Houston’s NRG Park in order to comply with investigations, and the company has also agreed to giving out full refunds to attendees who purchased tickets.