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Astroworld injury claims exceed 4,900

Almost 5,000 people have claimed they were injured in last November’s Astroworld tragedy, according to a new court filing.

Ten concertgoers, aged between nine and 27, were killed after a crowd surge during co-founder Travis Scott’s headline set at the 50,000-cap festival in Houston, Texas, promoted by Live Nation and its Scoremore subsidiary. All of those who died suffered from compression asphyxia.

Now, Rolling Stone reports that attorneys Jason Itkin, Richard Mithoff and Sean Roberts, who are acting as “plaintiffs’ liaison counsel”, have tied 732 claims to injuries that required extensive medical treatment, 1,649 to less extensive treatment, and 2,540 for injuries where the severity is still under review.

Earlier this year, the go-ahead was given for hundreds of Astroworld lawsuits to be formally consolidated into a single case . Lawsuits were filed against Scott and promoters Live Nation and Scoremore, along with other parties, in each of the 24 district courts in Harris County. Nearly every claim alleges negligence such as “failures of safety and security rules, crowd control and emergency response measures, and failures to provide adequate security, supervision, training and care”.

Scott performed for the first time in public since Astroworld at the weekend

The Texas Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation ruled that 387 suits, representing almost 2,800 alleged victims, could move forward as one case.

The accused parties have denied all allegations against them relating to the 5 November 2021 disaster.

Last month, the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety (TFCS) made a series of recommendations on how to improve concert safety and help avoid a repeat of the tragedy, including the creation of a centralised Event Production Guide – outlining and encouraging best-practice for event design and crowd control.

“While some level of risk is inherent in any mass gathering, it is the opinion of the TFCS that proper planning will allow Texans to enjoy safe performances, concerts, and other culturally significant events,” it said.

Scott took to the stage at a Miami nightclub at the weekend to give his first public live performance since Astroworld.

 


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Taskforce publishes Astroworld tragedy report

A US taskforce has made a series of recommendations on how to improve concert safety in response to last year’s Astroworld Festival tragedy.

Ten concertgoers were killed and more than 300 were injured after a crowd surge during co-founder Travis Scott’s headline set in Houston, Texas on 5 November. The 50,000-cap festival at NRG Park was promoted by Live Nation and its Scoremore subsidiary.

The Texas Task Force On Concert Safety (TFCS) was announced by Texas governor Greg Abbott in the days following the disaster.  Led by Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony, the group comprised safety experts, law enforcement, firefighters, state agencies and music industry leaders, who held several meetings and one-on-one discussions to develop ways to enhance security at live music events in the state.

“The recommendations in this report are narrowly tailored to address gaps that were identified as contributing to safety failures at the Astroworld event,” states its newly published conclusions. “The TFCS also proactively used this process to enhance the state’s standard of safety practices for mass gatherings of all types.

“While some level of risk is inherent in any mass gathering, it is the opinion of the TFCS that proper planning will allow Texans to enjoy safe performances, concerts, and other culturally significant events.”

“The recommendations, findings and solutions detailed in this report will help the state of Texas prevent another tragedy like that at Astroworld Festival from happening again”

One of its key proposals is for the creation of a centralised Event Production Guide – outlining and encouraging best-practice for event design and crowd control – which could serve as a one-stop shop for promoters to access existing legal requirements. The guide would include a list of robust training resources for promoters, staff, and first responders for site walkthrough drills, security briefings, communication trees, and show-stop triggers and responses.

“I thank the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety for their commitment to safety and security for all concertgoers and for their collaboration with stakeholders on this critical report,” says governor Abbott. “The recommendations, findings and solutions detailed in this report will help the state of Texas prevent another tragedy like that at Astroworld Festival from happening again.”

The task force supports a requirement that promoters determine which emergency service would respond to a 911 call on the site of their event, and recommends that local authorities stop the show when it is determined that an event has been organised without a permit or has breached the bounds of the issued permit.

“The recommendations in this report are narrowly tailored to address gaps that were identified as contributing to safety failures at the Astroworld event”

It has also called for a Concert Attendee Code of Conduct as part of the ticketing process, which makes clear what behaviours will lead to ejection, and recommends that venues communicate with other venue representatives that have previously hosted the artist.

It adds that promoters should partner with artists to encourage safety, since messaging from the artist can be “uniquely persuasive” for fans.

 


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Hundreds of Astroworld lawsuits to be consolidated

Hundreds of Astroworld lawsuits are being formally consolidated into a single case following a court ruling.

Ten people, aged between nine and 27, died and hundreds of others were injured following the crowd crush during Travis Scott’s headline set at the festival at Houston’s NRG Park on 5 November 2021.

Lawsuits were filed against Scott and promoters Live Nation and Scoremore, along with other parties, in each of the 24 district courts in Harris County. Nearly every claim alleges negligence such as “failures of safety and security rules, crowd control and emergency response measures, and failures to provide adequate security, supervision, training and care”.

The Texas Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation has now ruled that 387 suits, representing almost 2,800 alleged victims, can move forward as one case.

“The agreed motion alleges the lawsuits arise out of incidents leading up to, during and following a live performance by Travis Scott during the Astroworld Festival outside NRG Park on November 5, 2021,” states the court papers. “We conclude that the cases arising out of the incident are related, and we find that transfer of those case would result in more efficient pre-trial of the related cases.”

“Houston Police Department continues to lead the investigation”

Billboard reports the move towards a single case was agreed upon by both sides. Scott previously requested to be dismissed from multiple lawsuits relating to the disaster, with a representative saying the rapper “is not legally liable” for the tragedy.

Live Nation, Scoremore and NRG Park owner Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation also deny all allegations against them, but have not asked for their dismissal.

Criminal investigations are still ongoing. Last month, Houston police appealed for Astroworld attendees to submit any photos or videos taken at the event.

“Houston Police Department have already viewed countless hours of video evidence as part of our ongoing investigation into the Astroworld event,” it tweeted. “To ensure that we have captured all possible evidence for a complete investigation, we have partnered with the Federal Bureau Of Investigation for additional technical assistance. The FBI has created a website where the public can upload any photos or video taken at the concert venue. Specifically, we are seeking any photos or videos of the main venue area from 8pm to 11pm. The website to upload your photos or video is fbi.gov/astroworld.

“HPD continues to lead the investigation and we appreciate the assistance from our federal partners at the FBI.”

 


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Congress demands answers over Astroworld tragedy

The US Congress has written to Live Nation to demand answers over the Astroworld tragedy.

Ten people, aged between nine and 27, died and hundreds of others were injured following a crowd crush during Travis Scott’s headline set at NRG Park in Houston, Texas.

In an open letter addressed to Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino, the committee on oversight and reform have requested information “regarding the roles and responsibilities for Astroworld Festival, security planning for the event, and the steps Live Nation Entertainment took after being made aware that law enforcement had declared the event a ‘mass casualty event'”.

We are committed to investigating what went wrong to inform possible reforms that could prevent future tragedies

“Recent reports raise serious concerns about whether your company took adequate steps to ensure the safety of the 50,000 concertgoers who attended Astroworld Festival,” reads the letter, signed by members of the committee.

“For instance, reports indicate that security and medical staff were inexperienced or ill-equipped to deal with mass injuries. Some attendees stated that the placement of barricades made it difficult to escape. Experts have stated that Astroworld Festival organisers failed to heed warning signs.”

The letter adds the tragedy follows “a long line of other tragic events and safety violations involving Live Nation”,  stating the promoter has been “fined or sued numerous times over safety issues at previous events, including other incidents involving surging fans or stampedes”.

Members add: “We are deeply saddened by the deaths that occurred at Astroworld Festival and are committed to investigating what went wrong to inform possible reforms that could prevent future tragedies.”

The committee has asked Live Nation to respond by 7 January 2022.

Live Nation and its Scoremore subsidiary deny all allegations against them relating to the 5 November disaster.

 


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Travis Scott involved in festival safety blueprint

Travis Scott is reportedly involved in an initiative to put new festival safety protocols in place following the Astroworld disaster.

According to Billboard, the rapper has reached out to “target participants” including Live Nation, AEG, Spotify, Apple and ticketing companies, among others, to secure their involvement in the scheme, which he has spent the last three weeks working on with the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). Healthcare and public safety experts have also been approached.

USCM will announce the ‘Ensuring Festival Safety’ initiative at the 2022 USCM Winter Meeting in Washington, DC, scheduled for 19-21 January.

It is our hope that this report serves as the new safety and security blueprint for all festivals

The publication, which will be freely available online, will be compiled based on discussions that take place from January to June next year, and will include findings and recommendations on areas such as chain of command, crowd management and enforcement of health and safety regulations.

“It is our hope that this report serves as the new safety and security blueprint for all festivals,” states the agreement.

The news comes after Harris County medical examiner’s report concluded that the 10 victims of the Astroworld crowd crush at Houston’s NRG Park last month died of compression asphyxia. Another 300 people were injured among the 50,000 crowd.


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Travis Scott, Live Nation deny Astroworld claims

Travis Scott has requested to be dismissed from multiple lawsuits he is named in relating to the Astroworld disaster.

Ten people, aged between nine and 27, died following a crowd crush during Scott’s headline set at the 50,000-cap. NRG Park in Houston, Texas on 5 November.

However, a representative said the rapper “is not legally liable” for the tragedy, according to Rolling Stone. Scott, who is accused of negligence, among other claims, is named in most of the 300 suits filed in Harris County. He denies all allegations against him in 11 lawsuits and is likely to file many more requests for dismissal going forward, the report adds.

Promoter Live Nation, its Scoremore subsidiary and NRG Park owner Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation have also denied all allegations against them, but have not asked for their dismissal.

Nearly every petition alleges the same or similar common fact questions related to the alleged negligence

The news comes after it was revealed that 275 Astroworld lawsuits representing more than 1,250 people could be consolidated into a single case, according to a filing with the Texas Supreme Court.

“Transfer of all of these lawsuits to a single pretrial judge for consolidated and coordinated pretrial proceedings will eliminate duplicative discovery, conserve resources of the judiciary, avoid conflicting legal rulings and scheduling, and otherwise promote the just and efficient conduct of all actions,” it reads.

“Nearly every petition alleges the same or similar common fact questions related to the alleged negligence – such as failures of safety and security rules, crowd control and emergency response measures, and failures to provide adequate security, supervision, training and care.”

 


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275 Astroworld lawsuits could be consolidated

A total of 275 Astroworld lawsuits representing more than 1,250 people are set to be consolidated into a single case, according to a new filing with the Texas Supreme Court.

Ten people, aged between nine and 27, died following the crowd crush during Travis Scott’s set at Houston’s NRG Park on 5 November.

Lawsuits have been filed against Scott, promoters Live Nation and Scoremore, and other parties including venue manager ASM Global, in each of the 24 district courts in Harris County.

“Transfer of all of these lawsuits to a single pretrial judge for consolidated and coordinated pretrial proceedings will eliminate duplicative discovery, conserve resources of the judiciary, avoid conflicting legal rulings and scheduling, and otherwise promote the just and efficient conduct of all actions,” reads the filing.

Nearly every petition alleges the same or similar common fact questions related to the alleged negligence

It continues: “It is alleged that while Travis Scott was performing numerous people in the crowd pressed against each other or barricades and some were trampled, leading to injuries and 10 deaths. The concert was ended and the event cancelled.

“Nearly every petition alleges the same or similar common fact questions related to the alleged negligence – such as failures of safety and security rules, crowd control and emergency response measures, and failures to provide adequate security, supervision, training, and care.”

Criminal investigations are also ongoing into the tragedy at the 50,000-capacity festival.

 


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Nine-year-old boy becomes 10th Astroworld victim

A nine-year-old boy has become the 10th person to die from injuries sustained at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival.

Ezra Blount, from Dallas, who passed away yesterday (14 November), had been placed in a medically induced coma. He is the youngest victim of the 5 November tragedy in Houston, Texas.

“The Blount family tonight is grieving the incomprehensible loss of their precious young son,” said a statement from family lawyer Ben Crump. “This should not have been the outcome of taking their son to a concert, what should have been a joyful celebration.

“Ezra’s death is absolutely heartbreaking. We are committed to seeking answers and justice for the Blount family. But tonight we stand in solidarity with the family, in grief, and in prayer.”

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted his condolences.

More than 100 lawsuits have been filed on behalf of concert-goers

“I am saddened to learn of Ezra’s death this evening,” he said. “Our city tonight prays for his mom, dad, grandparents, other family members and classmates at this time. They will need all of our support in the months and years to come. May God give them strength.”

The news follows the death of 22-year-old Texas A&M University student Bharti Shahani last Wednesday (10 November), who became the ninth victim of the Astroworld crowd surge, five days on from the 50,000-capacity festival in NRG Park. All 10 victims were aged between nine and 27.

Criminal investigations are underway into the tragedy, while more than 100 lawsuits have been filed on behalf of concert-goers against Scott, promoter Live Nation and its Scoremore subsidiary, and other parties including Drake, who appeared as a special guest during Scott’s headline set.

In his first public statement since the incident, Live Nation chairman and CEO Michael Rapino wrote on Twitter that his “heart goes out” to all those affected.

“We are doing everything we can to get the families and fans the answers and support they deserve,” he said.

Crowded space expert Professor Chris Kemp spoke to IQ about concert safety last week.

 


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Astroworld Festival death toll rises to nine

A 22-year-old student who was critically injured in the deadly crowd surge at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival last week has died, taking the death toll to nine.

A lawyer for the family of Texas A&M University student Bharti Shahani said she passed away on Wednesday night (10 November), five days after the 50,000-capacity event at NRG Park in Houston, Texas. A nine-year-old boy also injured at the festival remains in a medically induced coma.

Criminal investigations are underway into the tragedy, while dozens of lawsuits have been filed by concert-goers against Scott, promoter Live Nation and other parties including Drake, who appeared as a special guest during the headline set.

The Houston Chronicle reports that at least one Houston police officer reported the main stage had been compromised at 9.11pm. A “mass casualty incident” was triggered at 9.38pm but Scott continued performing until around 10.15pm.

He is distraught by the situation and desperately wishes to share his condolences

Representatives for Scott have released a new statement on behalf of the 30-year-old rapper.

“Over the last week, Travis Scott and his team have been actively exploring routes of connection with each and every family affected by the tragedy through the appropriate liaisons,” it says.

“He is distraught by the situation and desperately wishes to share his condolences and provide aid to them as soon as possible, but wants to remain respectful of each family’s wishes on how they’d best like to be connected.

“To those families who would like to reach out directly to his team, please send an email to the below address where we will have a team on hand to assist. [email protected]

Post Malone is replacing Scott as headliner of this weekend’s Day N Vegas festival in Las Vegas.

Earlier this week, it was announced that a taskforce on concert safety was being formed in the US in the wake of the Astroworld catastrophe.

 


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Safety taskforce formed after Astroworld tragedy

A taskforce on concert safety has been formed in the US in the wake of last weekend’s Astroworld Festival tragedy in Houston.

Announced by Texas governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Task Force On Concert Safety will be led by Texas Music Office director Brendon Anthony.

Roundtable discussions will be held to “analyse concert safety and develop ways to enhance security at live music events” in the state, which will then form the basis of a report of recommendations and strategies.

“Live music is a source of joy, entertainment, and community for so many Texans — and the last thing concertgoers should have to worry about is their safety and security,” says Abbott. “To ensure that the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival never happens again in the Lone Star State, I am forming the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety.

“From crowd control strategies to security measures to addressing controlled substances, this task force will develop meaningful solutions that will keep Texans safe while maximising the joy of live music events. I thank the members of this taskforce for coming together to work on this important issue.”

Alongside live music figures, the taskforce will consist of representatives from Texas Music Office, Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, Sheriffs’ Association of Texas, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Municipal Police Association, Texas Police Chiefs Association, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters.

Investigations are ongoing into the Live Nation and Scoremore-promoted event at NRG Park on 5 November. Eight people died and hundreds others were injured after a crowd surge during co-founder Travis Scott’s headline set. A nine-year-old boy is reportedly in a medically-induced coma due to injuries sustained, while a 22-year-old student has been declared brain dead.

Those who need to be held accountable will be held accountable

Houston police chief Troy Finner gave an update on proceedings at a news conference held yesterday (10 November).

“Our department owe it to those families to look at every aspect – how [and] why it happened,” he said. “We owe it to our city, we owe it to our nation and we have to learn lessons from this. Those who need to be held accountable will be held accountable.”

On whether he expected the inquiries to result in criminal charges, Finner replied: “I’m not sure and I’m not comfortable with saying that. I will tell you that we’re not going to leave any stones unturned.” 

Finner confirmed he met with Scott prior to the festival began to discuss safety concerns, but said he had “no reason to believe it wasn’t going to be safe”.

“I’m the kind of chief that I meet with people whenever I can and that includes him,” he added. “We had a very respectful few minute conversation on my concerns.”

While a “mass casualty incident” was triggered at 9.38pm, Scott continued performing until completing his headline set at around 10.15pm. Asked who had the “ultimate jurisdiction” to shut down the festival, Finner replied it had to be a group decision. 

“Ultimate authority to end the show is with production and the entertainer and that should be through communication with public safety officials,” he elaborated.

Investigations should start proceeding over finger-pointing

Some fans had stormed the entrance gates on the morning of the event, which Finner suggested was triggered by a rush for the “very sought after merchandise” from the merch stands. “That’s what caused some of the kids rushing towards that and breaking down barriers,” he said. “Once they breached, we quickly got that under control and we didn’t have any major injuries so we went on with the show.”

Finner also corrected earlier claims that a security guard had been rendered unconscious after being injected with drugs by a festival-goer.

“We did locate that security guard, his story’s not consistent with that,” clarified Finner. “He says he was struck in his head, he went unconscious, he woke up in the security tent. He says that no one injected drugs in him so we want to clear that part up.”

Meanwhile, Scott’s lawyer Edwin F McPherson has accused the authorities of putting out “inconsistent messages” in relation to the tragedy.

“Houston Police chief Troy Finner was quoted in the New York Times as saying ‘You cannot just close when you got 50,000 and over 50,000 individuals. We have to worry about rioting, riots, when you have a group that’s that young,’ ” McPherson told People. “Yet, just a short time later, Chief Finner states the responsibility to stop the show falls on Travis.

“It was reported that the operations plan designated that only the festival director and executive producers have authority to stop the show, neither of which is part of Travis’s crew. This also runs afoul of HPD’s own previous actions when it shut down the power and sound at this very festival when the performance ran over five minutes back in 2019.

“Investigations should start proceeding over finger-pointing so that together, we can identify exactly what transpired and how we can prevent anything like this from happening again.”

 


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