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Astroworld disaster Getty 1.jpg

Organizers of Travis Scott Astroworld Festival Foresaw Crowding Issues That Led to Ten Deaths

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Celebrity | March 21, 2024 |

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Celebrity | March 21, 2024 |


Astroworld disaster Getty 1.jpg

Organisers of rapper Travis Scott’s Astroworld music festival foresaw the crowding issues that led to ten people’s deaths. That’s according to new court documents filed as part of one of a number of civil suits being pursued in the aftermath of the 2021 tragedy.

Exchanges between organizers and safety co-ordinators reveal that the overcrowding issues were discussed frequently and the possibility of danger was known. Seyth Boardman, Astroworld festival’s safety and risk director, said to the operations director, ‘I feel like there is no way we are going to fit 50k in front of that stage.’ Another organizer said, ‘We are going to be absolutely screwed when the sun goes down.’ The location space was meant for only 34,500 people, not 50,000.

That issue was compounded, said lawyers for the victims’ families, by major security lapses on the day, and a lack of surveillance over the crowd to watch for signs of a possible crush. Boardman, the safety and risk director hired to oversee, also faced claims of a conflict of interest as it emerged that he was also a longtime employee of one of the security companies contracted for Astroworld. Rolling Stone delved into that issue, with one industry veteran telling the publication that ‘your loyalties are split’ under such circumstances.

Travis Scott is one of several figures being sued by the families of the ten victims who died on November 5, 2021, alongside venue manager ASM and the concert company/overpowered monopoly Live Nation Entertainment. Scott has contended with numerous lawsuits since the concert and settled several of them, although he still faces many civil cases. He has been accused of contributing to the disaster through his notoriously raucous performances that encourage fans to get involved in potentially dangerous behaviour. On June 29, 2023, a Texas grand jury declined to indict Scott or anyone associated with the concert.

Another defendant is Drake, who is seeking to be dismissed from these cases by claiming he had no involvement in the planning of Astroworld or any knowledge of safety problems.

The issue of safety at concerts has been at the forefront of our minds for decades now, with many incidents of crushes and human stampedes having occurred over the years. In 1979, 11 people died at a concert for The Who in Cincinnati, which led to a longtime ban on unassigned seating at such events. Last year, a Brazilian fan died from heat exhaustion at a Taylor Swift concert in Rio de Janeiro after it emerged that organizers had banned attendees from taking in their own water and had not sufficiently provided enough fluids for the 60,000 concertgoers.

The Astroworld disaster has proven especially painful for many because of the involvement of a vast monopoly like Live Nation that controls far too much of the worldwide music industry. The United States Congress House Oversight Committee announced a bipartisan investigation into Live Nation’s role in the tragedy. In a letter to Live Nation, the panel said, ‘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. The panel noted reports of inadequate security and medical staff at the venue, the placement of barricades, and a failure to heed warning signs.’ If the company with almost total control over North American concerts can get away with this, what’s to stop everyone else from prioritizing money over human lives?