Congress Demands Answers, Documents, from Live Nation on Astroworld Tragedy

Music is such a beautiful thing. It heals and brings everyone closer together no matter how near or far. It knows no language and crosses all barriers seamlessly. But just like everything in this planet we call earth, it has its dark side as well. As destructive as any storm out there, when things go awry or used the wrong way it can cause irreparable harm.

There have been past examples of this such as, the Gun N’ Roses/ Metallica Stadium Tour of 1992, Woodstock 1999, David Cassidy White City Concert 1974 and so much more (unfortunately). But when talking about the most recent one, look no further than the 2021 Astroworld Festival that happened last November 5th in Houston Texas. Wherein 10 people died, and hundreds injured during a “crowd crush” that occurred that faithful night. The names of the ten are as follows: Franco Patino (21), John Hilgert (14), Brianna Rodriguez (16), Rudy Peña (23), Danish Baig (27), Jacob E. Jurinek (20), Axel Acosta (21), Madison Dubiski (23), Bharti Shahani (22), and Ezra Blount (9). 

From Left to Right. John Hilgert (14), Jacob Jurinek (20), Axel Acosta (21), Rudy Peña (23), Bharti Shahani (22), Brianna Rodriguez (16), Franco Patino (21), Madison Dubiski (23), Danish Baig (27) and Ezra Blount (9). Image Courtesy of Fox26 Houston.

According to recent investigations by the Harris county institute of forensic sciences in Houston and others who’ve conducted separate ones all ruled out that it was an accident.The determined cause of death for all victims were from compression asphyxia. As for the hundreds injured, they were an array of various ones caused from bodies bumping into each other and the lack of air due to the stampede. 

Even though it was an accident, this doesn’t mean Travis Scott and company are getting away Scot free. In fact, they have a lot to answer for such as the proper safety procedures, as well as precautions that need to be taken before even the event took place. Not to mention the lives lost, their grieving families and those who were scared physically and mentally at the event. The same burden of responsibility is given to American global entertainment company Live Nation, who had a hand in this tragic event. 

Image Courtesy of The L.A. Times

With that being said, members of a congressional committee signed by Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform together with four other congress members has since sent the events company a letter last December 22. The intent was to request for written answers about that deadly incident. Particularly the circumstances surrounding 9:20 pm where there were already injuries occurring, till 10:10 pm where the festival was completely shut down. The biggest question here is why they had to wait for 10:10 pm to call the whole thing off, almost an hour after people have been reported being severely hurt. 

This isn’t the only concern aired by the letter because it also begs to ask if Live Nation took the adequate measures to ensure all the concert goers’ safety in the first place. Not only that, the note of inquiry also raises an alarming detail where some employees were asked to sign a waiver to be paid just for working in the event. Payment was withheld until part time employees signed the revised contract. 

To add to all these, here are other questions in need of answers: roles and responsibilities played by venue security, crowd control, mass incident planning etc. Where their pre-show security assessments before even the whole thing started. Their response to reports of fans breaking security barriers. The exact time they were informed about the tragedy and what steps taken after. The same for the causalities and how this was handled all together. The questions don’t stop here because they too would like their own analysis as to whether the stampede could have been prevented in the first place. Lastly, the steps they will take to prevent from another deadly disaster to take place on their watch. 

Image Courtesy of BBC.

A few days after the letter was issued, the live entertainment titan replied with this statement “We are assisting local authorities in their investigation and will of course share information with the Committee as well. Safety is core to love events and Love Nation engages in detailed security planning in coordination with local stakeholders including law enforcement, fire and EMT professionals. We are heartbroken by the events at Astroworld and our deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of the victims.”. 

As of the writing of this article, other safety mishaps under Live Nation whether big or small have started to come to light. At least 12 lawsuits have been thrown their way and could potentially grow as time passes. When it comes to Mister Astroworld himself, Travis Scott has since issued an apology which wasn’t well received by the public most especially the victims. He shares the same fate coupled with backlash from fans and critics everywhere. Drake and NRG park, the festival venue were both slammed with the same amount. 

Months have passed since that dark day, and yet the truth is seemingly slow as molasses. Not as sweet though, but incredibly bitter and it’ll stay that way till justice is served.

Illustrator and writer who loves music, arts and pop culture as a whole.
Illustrator and writer who loves music, arts and pop culture as a whole.

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