Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner won't rule out future Astroworld festivals

Nick Natario Image
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Mayor vows concert changes coming after Astroworld
Mayor Sylvester Turner vowed changes would be coming after the Astroworld tragedy. What those changes will be may not be recognizable, though, to regular concertgoers.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston and Harris County leaders both agree concert changes are most likely coming following the Astroworld Festival tragedy, but it may take months to establish what they are.


During Tuesday's Harris County commissioner court's meeting, Judge Lina Hidalgo said she wants an independent review of what happened at Astroworld Festival. On Friday, eight died, and hundreds others were hurt during a festival headlined by Houston native Travis Scott.

The event took place at NRG, which is a county facility. The concert was contracted with NRG's sports and convention cooperation, which is a branch of the county.

An independent review, though, may not give the public, concertgoers and victims' families the answers they want anytime soon.

"I do want to set expectations that it's better to have thorough answers than quick answers, and the wrong answers," Hidalgo said during the meeting. "One key piece of it, for example, is the toxicology reports. That's going to take weeks to find."

The incident took place at a county facility, but the city of Houston was also involved. In addition to Houston police, and fire on the scene, the city also approved several permits with the promoter for the festival.

On Tuesday, Mayor Sylvester Turner echoed Hidalgo in saying it may take time to get answers.

"This investigation is going to take weeks, if not months," Turner said. "I know everybody wants answers right now, but I think it's important to look at every single thing."


The festival took place at a county facility, but it's within the city of Houston. Mayor's Office of Special Events director Susan Christian said on Tuesday that moving forward, communication between the two agencies must improve.

"We will have an improvement in how that communication works specifically to security plans," Christian said.

It's not just communication that needs to improve. Turner said the city needs to have more of a role in events at county sites.

"I will tell you the city needs to be at the table from the very beginning, and we need to have the final say whether something moves forward or doesn't move forward," Turner said.

The contract for the festival was between promoter, Live Nation, and NRG's Sports and Convention Corporation. ABC13 has made repeated requests with both the agency and promoter to talk to someone about the incident, or get a copy of the contract. The cooperation's communications person pointed us to an attorney, but we haven't heard back. We also haven't heard from Live Nation.


Both Houston and Harris County leaders agree changes are most likely coming to future concerts. The Astroworld Festival incident prompted the Astros Golf Foundation to cancel two shows this week. Artist Billy Joel also delayed selling tickets to his show at Minute Maid Park.

One change will be something you probably won't notice. Houston leaders said communication will improve if the event takes place at a county site.

"A lot more details in planning between the city and the county and that will be done with future events," Christian said.

As for other changes, it's unclear. Leaders want to learn what happened before making decisions.

"I will support a full and complete investigation," Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia said. "If someone has to be held accountable, so be it."


The investigation into how Astroworld Festival turned deadly could take months. Although eight died and hundreds were hurt, it may not be the final festival headlined by Travis Scott in Houston.

The Houston native has held the festivals the past few years at NRG, except in 2020. Turner was asked about a return next year.

He didn't rule it out.

"What happens down the road," Turner explained. "That will depend on the facts and the investigations that come from the review from this situation from top to bottom."

Scott has not indicated if he would want another Astroworld Festival. Turner said the two have talked about a vigil for the victims.

WATCH: Mayor mum on future of Travis Scott shows in Houston

Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke with ABC News four days after the Astroworld Festival disaster. While he outlined the next steps in the investigation, the mayor did not offer anything direct on the future of Travis Scott shows in the city.

RELATED: Lawsuits begin stacking up in light of Astroworld tragedy: 'I want everybody to get justice'

As stories about the Astroworld Festival tragedy stack up, so do lawsuits against people and the companies that should've kept people safe.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo wants independent investigation into Astroworld Festival tragedy

Monday was Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo's first visit to the vigil of candles and balloons that sit along a fence across from NRG Stadium.

Questions rise over how security handled Astroworld Festival tragedy

As families and friends mourn the loss of their loved ones at the Astroworld Festival tragedy, the question remains ... could this have been avoided?