Thursday, December 23, 2021

Congress Opens Investigation Into Astroworld Promoter Live Nation

Live Nation, the promoter of the Astroworld music festival, is under investigation by a congressional committee for its role in the tragic event that saw 10 people killed by a deadly crowd surge while headliner Travis Scott performed.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee sent a letter Wednesday to Live Nation Entertainment Inc. President and CEO Michael Rapino requesting information on preparation and safety measures for the Nov. 5 event.

“We are writing to request information regarding the tragic events on November 5, 2021, when a stampede crushed concertgoers, killing ten people and injuring hundreds more during Astroworld Music Festival. Those who died ranged in age from 9 to 27 years old. Concert attendees have provided firsthand accounts of being crushed within the crowd as it surged towards the stage,” the letter reads in part.

The letter, issued by committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, D-New York, and Ranking Member James Comer, R-Kentucky, went on to note its concerns about the company and its practices and provide examples of negligence it would be investigating.

“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 letter, which was also signed by U.S. Reps. Al Green, D-Houston, and Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, continues. “For instance, reports indicate that security and medical staff were inexperienced or ill-equipped to deal with mass injuries,” they wrote. “Some attendees stated that the placement of barricades made it difficult to escape. Experts have stated that Astroworld Festival organizers failed to heed warning signs.”

It also called out the company's conduct following the festival, noting its concern over reports that “Live Nation and its subsidiary reportedly have withheld pay until part-time employees who worked the festival have signed a revised employment contract, correcting the original version signed prior to the festival that was dated 2018. The revision makes it clear that the contract, which includes a broad provision releasing Live Nation from liability, applies to the 2021 festival.”

The committee has requested documentation from Live Nation by Jan. 7, 2022, and asked it to provide a closed-door briefing to the members of the committee by Jan. 12.

Live Nation responded with a statement saying that it is “assisting local authorities in their investigation and will of course share information with the Committee as well.”

“Safety is core to live events and Live Nation engages in detailed security planning in coordination with local stakeholders including law enforcement, fire and EMT professionals,” the company said.

According to an investigation by the Houston Chroniclethe company and its subsidiary Live Nation Worldwide have been linked to at least 750 injuries and around 200 deaths at its events in seven countries since 2006.

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