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Congressional committee demands documents and information from Live Nation in relation to Astroworld tragedy

By | Published on Thursday 23 December 2021

Travis Scott

The Committee On Oversight And Reform in US Congress has written to Live Nation chief Michael Rapino demanding information relating to last month’s Astroworld tragedy, including any contracts the live giant has regarding security, communications and medical care at the Houston festival.

Ten people died and hundreds more were injured on 5 Nov after a crowd surge occurred during Travis Scott’s headline set at the festival he founded, which was promoted by Live Nation and its Scoremore subsidiary.

A criminal investigation is underway to ascertain if decisions made before or during the event contributed to the tragedy, and the Harris County Commissioner’s Court has also announced a review of security and safety plans at the venue that hosted the festival, NRG Park. Meanwhile, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed in relation to the incident, with Scott and Live Nation the main defendants on most of them.

On top of all that, members of the Congressional Committee On Oversight And Reform – the main investigative committee in the US House Of Representatives – are now also investigating what led to the crowd surge at Astroworld so to “inform possible reforms that could prevent future tragedies”.

The committee’s letter to Rapino notes various criticisms that have been made of the festival and its promoters since the crowd surge took place. That includes allegations that security and medical staff at Astroworld were inexperienced or ill-equipped, and that event organisers failed to heed warning signs earlier in the day, in particular crowds pushing over security barriers as the festival opened.

The letter also observes that Scott continued performing for more than half an hour after police had declared the crowd surge a mass casualty event. And it cites those recent reports that some part-time employees working at the festival were told to sign new contracts post-event in order to get paid, with revisions that seemingly sought to restrict Live Nation’s liabilities with regards those people while working at the festival.

The letter then states: “The tragedy at Astroworld Festival follows a long line of other tragic events and safety violations involving Live Nation. For example, Live Nation has been fined or sued numerous times over safety issues at previous events, including other incidents involving surging fans or stampedes. From 2016 to 2019, Live Nation and its subsidiary Live Nation Worldwide were cited ten times for safety violations and incurred fines”.

In addition to providing any relevant contracts relating to the production of Astroworld, the committee also wants Live Nation to outline the roles and responsibilities of everyone working at the festival, and to provide information regarding any pre-show security assessments and briefings, how the promoter responded to the other crowd issues earlier in the day on 5 Nov, and exactly when Live Nation became aware of the casualties that evening.

In fact, the letter specifically asks what the precise time was when Live Nation was “first made aware that law enforcement had declared the event a ‘mass casualty event'” and “what actions did Live Nation Entertainment take between that report and the performance’s termination at approximately 10.10pm?”

It then also says “please address reports that Live Nation has withheld pay from Astroworld employees until they have signed revised employment contracts that release Live Nation from liability”, before asking the most important question of them all: “What steps does Live Nation plan to take to prevent another injury or death at a promoted or held event?”

The letter is signed by committee chair Carolyn B Maloney, and co-signed by Congress members James Comer, Al Green, Kevin Brady and Bill Pascrell.

Live Nation has until 7 Jan to provide the requested contracts, while the Congress members say they expect a briefing on all these topics by 12 Jan.