News of the Astroworld music festival in Houston that claimed the lives of eight people and injured many others flooded national news stations and social media early last month. Since then premise liability claims and questions of negligence have been a topic of frequent discussion online and in community circles.
Astroworld is a music festival put on by rapper Travis Scott every year. It was put on hiatus last year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but this year came back, selling out with a whopping 50,000 people in attendance.
The incident occurred after the crowd surged towards the stage as Scott’s performance began, trampling and crushing other concert-goers as it rushed forward. Attendees reported feelings of being crushed against other people, unable to move or breath.
The incident itself happened just after 9:00pm. Despite first responders being notified at 9:30pm about injuries in the crowd, the concert itself continued without interruption for another 40 minutes.
Almost immediately lawsuits began flying in every direction, with some individuals suing Scott himself as the instigator of the unrest in the crowd and for not pulling the plug when things got dangerous.
Many defendants include the families of those who were killed in the incident. Even more claims are anticipated by the thousands of other people who suffered emotional distress while in attendance.
Many have pointed to a lack of security personnel, failure to end the concert, and negligence on the part of Scott and law enforcement to step in as the cause for this tragic loss.
Just today, the Houston Congressional Committee launched an investigation into Live Nation, the promoter and organizer of the event.
In the meantimes, hundreds of fans who were in the audience at the time of the surge are speaking up and telling their stories of what they experienced that night.
23-year-old Alexis Guavin, who was in attendance when the surge happened, told CNN, “Once (Scott) started, all hell broke loose… All of what is to be 50,000 people ran to the front, compressing everyone together with little air available.”
Another concert-goer, Anita Amper, was quoted with somberly saying, “I realized that people were dying.”
While the legal proceeding from this particular case are still underway, this tragic situation does raise the question of premises liability and who is at fault.
The property owner of any given premises is legally obligated to keep their property hazard-free and safe for other people. If one party is injured on another party’s property due to the negligence of the second party, the first person may have claim to legal action to pursue compensation. Premises liability encapsulates hazards like swimming pools, slippy or icy stairs, uneven ground, and more.
Concert venues are slightly different than other premises since they host a near revolving door of performers, organizers, and companies promoting the acts that come through. In this case, any of these entities, including the owner(s) of the property, could be held liable in premise liability claims.
In order to win a premises liability case individuals need to be able to prove negligence. In the case of Astroworld and other music festivals, defendants can incriminate planners, property owners, security, organizers and overseeing companies for failures that led to the injury or death of attendees.
Similar to the laws holding employers responsible for putting measures in place to protect staff on Black Friday, failure to provide adequate security, crowd control, and safety personnel can all be evidence of negligence and can help you win your case.
Of course, some concerts, like some sports, have an inherent risk that attendees must accept before going. For example, hard core punk and metal concerts are known for mosh pits that include violent dancing and flailing. However, even these concerts are maintained by organizers, and often security is quick to step in and help if things get too intense.
In the case of Astroworld, the lack of communication between security personnel and event staff, among other things, could be a sign of negligence.
As part of the Houston Congressional Committee’s investigation into Live National Entertainment Inc.’s handling of the event, they have asked the promoter to provide information on what crowd control tactics were used, whether or not concert and security staff were briefed before the event, and how they plan to ensure that this sort of tragedy never happens again at one of their shows.
If you or a family member has been injured at a music festival or concert, contact our legal team at Evergreen Personal Injury Council. We will work with you to assess your case and help you get the financial compensation that you deserve.