House committee launches probe into deadly Astroworld festival

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Hannah Longoria attends a makeshift memorial on November 7, 2021 at the NRG Park grounds where eight people died in a crowd surge at the Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas.
Thomas Shea | AFP | Getty Images

Members of the House Oversight Committee said Wednesday they are launching a bipartisan investigation into the events that led to November’s deadly Astroworld festival in Houston.

“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,” members wrote in a letter to Live Nation’s CEO Michael Rapino.

Shares of Live Nation were up nearly 3% in midday trading. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

At the Nov. 5 concert, which was organized by Live Nation and headlined by rapper Travis Scott, 10 people, ranging in age from nine to 27, were effectively crushed to death. Hundreds were also injured.

Last week, a Houston medical examiner confirmed that the 10 people who died were suffocated and essentially crushed to death by the crowd.

An ambulance is seen in the crowd during the Astroworld music festiwal in Houston, Texas, U.S., November 5, 2021 in this still image obtained from a social media video on November 6, 2021.
Courtesy of Twitter: @ONACASELLA via Reuters

Since the festival, reports from multiple news outlets have documented poor security planning by festival organizers, leading some to wonder whether deaths could have been prevented.

Live Nation was directly responsible for securing the two mosh pits in front of the stage, Houston’s police chief said in the days following the festival.

Apple, Live Nation, Travis Scott and other performers at the festival are facing multiple lawsuits alleging they cut corners when organizing security for the event. As of Dec. 6, there were more than 300 suits filed in connection with the event.

Scott denies the allegations in at least 11 lawsuits against him.

The lawmakers also said they are concerned that the Astroworld festival tragedy is the latest in a pattern of security incidents at Live Nation events.

“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,” the letter from the House committee said.

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