The Astroworld Festival that took place at NRG Park in Houston, Texas on Friday, November 5, 2021 took a tragic turn when concertgoers surged the stage at the beginning of Travis Scott’s performance and consequently trampled and crushed others. This resulted in the death of eight people and the injury of many more with over 300 people treated at the field hospital. Scott’s concerts have a long-standing reputation for being rowdy and him encouraging his fans to rush the stage. Attendees state that the crowd of 50,000 people became more densely packed the closer it got to Scott’s performance start time and that breathing was difficult.
Scott took the stage at 9pm, and videos posted online and released to media show that by 9:12 PM there are concertgoers yelling and begging for help – but they are overshadowed by the music, thus the concert continued for another hour. Scott states that he was unaware of what was occurring despite crowd members chanting “stop the show.” The performance ultimately ended around 10:10 PM. Authorities are still investigating the situation.
This is not the first time the crowd at one of Scott’s shows became unruly. There were stampedes at his 2015 Lallapalooza show in Chicago and at a 2017 performance in Rogers, Arkansas, both of which resulted in disorderly and reckless conduct charges against Scott. A similar stampede took place at the 2019 Astroworld Festival resulting in crowd injuries but despite this history, proper precautions were not put into place to prevent a recurrence. Instead, videos from the 2019 crowds and chaos were used to promote the 2021 festival.
Before the 2021 concert began, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner discussed his concerns about crowd control with Travis Scott, but nothing came of it. Instead, the concert continued for 30 minutes after the fire department declared a mass casualty event. The Houston Fire Chief, Samuel Pena, told the NY Times that had Scott paused or stopped the show and demanded the lights be turned on, things could have ended differently. Travis Scott or Live Nation, the organizers of the event, should have intervened.
Legal proceedings and the path forward
A growing number of lawsuits have been filed with Texas’ Harris County District Court against Travis Scott, Drake (a guest performer), Live Nation, ScoreMore, and Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation as a result of the deaths and injuries sustained during the concert. Live Nation, one of the event organizers, posted on Twitter that they are “providing mental health counseling [and] setting up a health fund to help with costs for medical expenses.” However, it is unclear if they intend to entirely cover the medical expenses of the concertgoers and for what extent of time.
With the potential for lifelong injury and the devastating loss of life, there are long-term financial burdens on the victims and their families as a result of the Astroworld Festival tragedy. Even though it may seem early, it is useful to start thinking about the best way to proceed as the attorney or plaintiff in these cases. With multiple cases filed, this could turn into multiparty action and result in a mass settlement. These types of cases can take years for litigation to complete. To ensure the result is one that best meets the financial future of those impacted, it is important to take a few initial steps.
It is likely this litigation will resolve using a qualified settlement fund (QSF), a tool that not only helps organize and administer the settlement monies, but also gives plaintiffs and their attorneys more time to plan for the money and to consider the best tax strategies. The Astroworld Festival qualified settlement fund would be administered by a settlement planning company who also ensures the multiple parties involved all receive proper accounting and distribution.
Once the settlement is in the QSF, a company like Milestone would work with the plaintiffs to establish the right financial plan to allow them to move forward with security and stability.
Our hearts go out to all affected by the events of November 5th. The experts at Milestone Consulting are available to talk to anyone affected by the Astroworld Festival.