November 5, 2021 (HOUSTON, TX) — Eight people died and hundreds of more attendees were injured at the rapper, Travis Scott’s Astroworld Music Festival late Friday evening. The narrative of events included violent stampedes, thousands of fans jumping fences, rushing the stage, and crushing concertgoers. Surviving attendees stated they had difficulty breathing as the rush of people became tighter and tighter. At 9:38 PM on Friday night, police and firefighters declared the event a mass casualty. However, for 37 minutes, Scott continued his set, not finishing until 10:15 p.m.
The next morning, on November 6th, multiple news outlets reported eight people, ages 14 to 27, were tragically dead and 300 people were injured from the prior night’s event. Approximately 25 people were hospitalized, including several who suffered cardiac arrest. Videos posted on Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube depicted a terrifying and chaotic situation, including concertgoers crowd surfing unconscious bodies to emergency personnel, while Travis Scott seemingly looked on and watched as ambulances tried to get through the crowds.
Although the footage leading up to the mass casualty event—namely of people wildly climbing barricades and fences seems alarming, it was behavior very much in line with previous performances. A video posted on Twitter in 2019 by Travis Scott, with the caption “Thanks to everybody that pulled up to rage !!!!” showed fans knocking over barriers and rushing towards the stage.
The Aftermath of Astroworld 2021: Refunds and Lawsuits
By November 8th, news outlets including ABC 13 were reporting that Travis Scott would be giving full refunds to anyone with tickets to Astroworld Festival. It was not immediately clear if those refunds would be automatic—or require a claim and release of liability. Scott also was reportedly going to be offering mental health counseling to those who attended and would cover the funeral costs of all individuals who lost their lives.
Within three days of the event, a number of victims and family members had filed lawsuits against concert promoter Live Nation, Travis Scott, and others. The suits claimed promoters failed to protect attendees and provide adequate security. Multiple parties may be liable for injuries and deaths including the festival venue, the concert promoters, security companies, and the talent. In this case, Travis Scott has a long and documented history of encouraging his fans to act out at events.
History of Chaos at Astroworld Festival
This isn’t Travis Scott’s first concert to get out of hand. In fact, Scott has encouraged his fans to climb barriers and rush the stage at his events on multiple occasions. Scott’s own Netflix documentary Look Mom I Can Fly captures his arrest in Arkansas in 2017 after inviting fans to come up on stage. Several years before that, in 2015, Scott was cited for encouraging fans to vault security barricades at Lollapalooza in Chicago. In one chilling scene in the documentary, Scott says “Security, stop being party poopers. These people just want to have fun.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, a 56-page “Event Operations Plan” detailed how to ensure the safety of the 50,000 people attending Astroworld. This document designated who was allowed to stop a performance, and how an evacuation was to be announced. The festival had a named safety director. However, it is apparent that emergency plans weren’t activated or followed. The event remains under investigation.
The Astroworld festivals were extremely popular, with more than 50,000 attendees going to the 2018 and 2019 festivals. The 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. After the events on November 5th, the future of the festival is unknown.
Injuries and Deaths Were Preventable at Astroworld Festival
What happened at the Astroworld Festival was preventable. When we think of other casualties at concerts and music festivals, acts of violence or tragic stage collapses come to mind. The people who went to the Astroworld Festival thought they would enjoy a fun Friday night out in Houston. However, what happened at Astroworld shared parallels to other similar tragedies at general admission “festivals” where fans gather shoulder-to-shoulder, with no reserved seating.
General admission festivals—where fans jockey “first-come, first-serve” for position next to the stage—have a history of catastrophe. In 1979, 11 people were trampled to death at a “The Who” concert in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2000, 9 people died when they were crushed to death at a Pearl Jam concert at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. Three people were even injured at the 2019 Astroworld Festival. Critics of festival seating events say that concert promoters choose festival seating because it allows them to sell more tickets. Large groups of people can create crowd control problems, and large-scale mosh pits can lead to serious injuries.
Injured Music Festival Attendees Have Legal Rights
Anyone injured at the 2021 Astroworld event, or at any music festival, would be well-advised to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer about their legal rights. Significant compensation may be available for medical care expenses, lost earnings, physical pain, and emotional suffering. If you or a loved one has been affected by a tragedy, such as Astroworld, please contact the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 949-727-9300.
The Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates send our heartfelt sympathies to the families of those who lost their lives and all others who have been affected by the 2021 Astroworld tragedy.
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