A Congressional panel has launched a bipartisan investigation into the tragedy at Travis Scott’s Astroworld music festival, which left 10 people dead and hundreds injured after a massive crowd surge. The House Oversight and Reform Committee announced on December 22 that it sent a letter to Michael Rapino, CEO and president of Live Nation, to ask for information regarding the concert promoter’s role in the deadly Astroworld events. Scott, the face of the festival, was not named in the panel’s investigation.
Live Nation was reportedly responsible for the festival’s “planning, staffing, putting up money, securing permits, finding vendors, [and] communicating with local agencies,” the panel said. “Recent reports raise serious concerns about whether [Live Nation] took adequate steps to ensure the safety of the 50,000 concertgoers who attended Astroworld Festival,” added the members of the congressional committee, chaired by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
“Failed to heed warning signs” — Already, lawsuits against Travis Scott and event organizers have scrutinized Live Nation in particular because of its position as the largest show promoter in the world. “This lawsuit isn’t just about seeing justice for [the Astroworld victims],” attorney Ben Crump, who is representing several concertgoers, said during a press conference in November. “It’s about making sure that Live Nation and all of the organizers, promoters, and anybody else who had anything to do with the failure here know that you cannot allow this to ever happen in the future, even if you have to immediately stop the concert.”
The congressional committee has nodded to these safety concerns, referencing reports about security and medical staff being “inexperienced or ill-equipped to deal with mass injuries.” Citing Astroworld attendees, the members added that “the placement of barricades made it difficult to escape. Experts have stated that Astroworld Festival organizers failed to heed warning signs.”
Who’s accountable? — Viral videos and anecdotes from the music festival are helping the panel investigate just what happened at Astroworld — and who’s accountable. Scott has already requested to be dismissed from several lawsuits that have named him as a defendant.
A representative for the rapper told Rolling Stone that Scott is “not legally liable” for the tragedy, while Scott himself pushed back on the notion that he should be held accountable: “The media wants to put on me, but at the end of the day… it’s more so about stepping out to figure out what the problem is,” he said in an interview with Charlamagne Tha God.
Live Nation and its subsidiary ScoreMore, which both promoted and organized Astroworld, followed Scott’s lead and denied all allegations against them, as did Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation, which owns venue NRG Park. Those defendants, however, did not ask for dismissal from lawsuits.
Show the receipts — Lawmakers have asked Live Nation to provide documentation on its roles and responsibilities for Astroworld, as well as its security planning for the event, by January 7. The committee also requested that the event promoter detail the steps it took after being made aware that law enforcement had declared Astroworld a “mass casualty event.” Live Nation will brief all of the above information to committee members by January 12.