Astroworld Organizers Lost Control Before Gates Even Opened

- Arnold & Itkin

In the last 24 hours, a flurry of news items were released that paint a more complete picture of what happened a week ago at Astroworld Music Festival. With logs from the Houston Fire Department, police, and more, it’s becoming clearer that the disaster at the Live Nation event was not only preventable, but it was practically designed to go poorly.

Our Astroworld injury attorneys explain:

Houston Fire Department Logs Show Live Nation Lost Control Hours Before Concert

The HFD logs of the day’s events were obtained by ABC News, and they show an event that was immediately out of control—even before the gates opened. Logs show that the police had requested riot equipment as early as 8:15 a.m. They hadn’t yet opened the gates at 9:15, but by 9:20, security was already overwhelmed, letting people skip COVID testing and safety checkpoints.

By 9:25, police had requested emergency medical assistance for 4 people. Within ten minutes, there was an injury.

The gates officially opened at 10:00 a.m. At 10:02, HFD wrote, “Venue fences damaged, no control of participants." Within two hours, HPD was contending with a growing crowd while security provided zero effective traffic flow. Like a water balloon, the growing crowd within an ever-shrinking space was going to burst. The first stampede occurred at 2:00 p.m. Event organizers had lost control.

The HFD also noted that they were sending first responders independently of the event organizers, and in fact never heard from them. It was only a matter of time until somebody was seriously hurt.

Houston Fire Chief Denied Entrance to Venue by Security

According to the Houston Professional Fire Fighter Association (HPFFA), the district fire chief who was closest to NRG Park was denied access to the venue twice the morning of the tragic crowd surge incident. He’d stopped by the venue for a walkthrough to get a feel for the venue’s layout before the massive concert that night, a standard practice among public safety officials.

“In the city of Houston, a district fire chief is usually over three or four stations,” said Patrick Lancton, President of the HPFFA. “When a response is required in his area, he is the first to respond. He would be the one taking command if something happened and determine what resources are needed.”

The fire chief was stopped by security, who denied him access. When he asked to speak with the head of security, he was denied access again, and then handed a map of the venue.

Contemporary Services Corporation handled security for the event, and had apparently hired a third-party medical company to handle emergency response inside the venue. Firefighters noted that emergency personnel were communicating via cell phones, which is much slower than radio communication. When medical emergencies were reported over the radio, the privately hired emergency personnel didn’t respond.

Read the full story here.

Absolutely No Excuse for the Lack of Emergency Response

The more we learn about the organizers behind Astroworld, the more clearly we see the negligence and sheer carelessness that went into the event’s design. There's simply no reason to deny access to a district fire chief to your venue, especially when you are expecting 50,000 people in attendance. It is negligence of the highest degree to sabotage the safety of your own event.

Live Nation is ultimately responsible for the people they hired and the harm they caused. It’s clearer and clearer that the people responsible for thousands of lives on November 5 had no idea what they were doing, and in fact, they seemed to be actively hiding the venue from qualified professionals who might’ve saved lives. The lack of radios, the immediate loss of control, and the refusal to involve local fire department officials means the loss of nine lives and the hundreds of injured attendees are 100% the responsibility of the event organizers.

Arnold & Itkin represents more than 100 people who were harmed at Astroworld Music Festival. We intend to hold every at-fault party accountable for their sake, especially Live Nation, the companies they hired, and Travis Scott.

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