At least sixteen lawsuits have now been filed in relation to the tragedy that occurred at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas on Friday. Meanwhile, promoters plan to provide full refunds to everyone who had tickets to the festival, and Scott himself has offered to pay for the funerals of the people who died in the tragedy, while also partnering with mental health service BetterHelp to offer counselling to anyone directly affected by last weekend’s events.
Eight people died and hundreds more were injured after a dangerous crowd surge occurred during Scott’s headline set on the first day of Astroworld 2021. A criminal investigation is underway, with the local police department now being assisted by the FBI as it seeks to identify the sequence of events that led to the injuries and deaths, and to what extent poor planning or bad decision making on the ground contributed to the tragedy.
The sixteen lawsuits that had been filed by the end of the day yesterday are obviously seeking to make Scott and the festival’s promoters – Scoremore and Live Nation – liable for Fridays events.
Those arguments will be partly based on allegations that Scott has a long history of encouraging his fans to behave recklessly at his shows, both from the stage and on social media – and that three festival-goers were injured after security barriers were pushed over at the 2019 edition of Astroworld – meaning organisers should have put extra safety measures in place.
The litigation will also put the spotlight on exactly what happened on Friday night. In particular, questions still remain about why Scott’s show continued for more than 30 minutes after police had already declared a “mass casualty event”, during which time Drake also appeared on stage.
Although the criminal investigation will scrutinise all of that, those suing will also want access to any evidence that helps confirm what was happening behind the scenes during Scott’s set.
Indeed, a key reason for the rush filing of all the lawsuits in recent days was to secure an injunction ordering Astroworld’s organisers to retain all that evidence, including venue NRG Park, which will be keen to clear its site as soon as possible for future events. Lawyers are also reportedly asking that Scott’s phone records and social media accounts be retained.
Some of the lawyers representing festival-goers who were injured have issued statements about their litigation, insisting that Friday’s events were entirely preventable .
That includes renowned civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who said: “We are hearing horrific accounts of the terror and helplessness people experienced – the horror of a crushing crowd and the awful trauma of watching people die while trying unsuccessfully to save them. We will be pursuing justice for all our clients who were harmed in this tragic and preventable event”.
Meanwhile, attorney Thomas J Henry added: “There is no excuse for the events that unfolded at NRG Stadium on Friday night. There is every indication that the performers, organisers and venue were not only aware of the hectic crowd but also that injuries and potential deaths may have occurred. Still, they decided to put profits over their attendees and allowed the deadly show to go on”.
More lawsuits are expected, with three groups of plaintiffs likely to file litigation. First will be the families of the eight people who died. Second will be those who suffered physical injuries during the crowd surge. And the third group will be festival-goers who directly witnessed the events and, while not personally injured, nevertheless suffered emotional distress.
Beyond the litigation, further statements were made by Scott, Live Nation and others yesterday.
A representative for the rapper said: “Travis Scott will cover all funeral costs and provide further aid for individuals affected by the 5 Nov tragedy at Astroworld Festival. In addition, Travis has partnered with BetterHelp to supply free one-on-one online therapy, and is working closely with [the National Alliance On Mental Illness and Mental Health America] to direct all those in need to proper mental health services”.
The statement continued: “Travis remains in active conversations with the city of Houston, law enforcement and local first responders to respectfully and appropriately connect with the individuals and families of those involved. These are the first of many steps Travis plans on taking as a part of his personal vow to assist those affected throughout their grieving and recovery process”.
It was also announced that Scott will no longer appear as a headliner at the Day N Vegas Festival this weekend, with sources confirming that the performer was “too distraught to play”. AEG’s Goldenvoice, which promotes the Las Vegas festival, has announced that Post Malone will take his place.
Astroworld promoters Scoremore and Live Nation also posted a new statement yesterday, saying: “We wanted to provide an update on the steps that Scoremore, Live Nation and the Astroworld Fest team have been taking. Throughout the weekend, we have been working to provide local authorities with everything they need from us in order to complete their investigation and get everyone the answers they are looking for”.
“Our staff has met with local authorities to provide information, and we have also provided them with all footage from our CCTV cameras”, they went on. “Load out of the site and equipment is currently paused to give investigators the time they requested to walk and document the grounds”.
“Full refunds are being offered for all those who purchased tickets”, they then confirmed. “And most importantly we are working on ways to support attendees, the families of victims, and staff, from providing mental health counselling to setting up a health fund to help with costs for medical expenses. Our entire team is mourning alongside the community”.
Drake has also issued a statement, he having appeared on stage as Friday’s tragedy unfolded, resulting in him being named as a defendant in some of the litigation.
He posted on Instagram: “I’ve spent the past few days trying to wrap my mind around this devastating tragedy. I hate resorting to this platform to express an emotion as delicate as grief but this is where I find myself. My heart is broken for the families and friends of those who lost their lives and for anyone who is suffering. I will continue to pray for all of them, and will be of service in any way I can. May God be with you all”.
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