Future live events could look different due to Astroworld Festival tragedy

Nick Natario Image
Thursday, November 11, 2021
Live events could look different after Astroworld Fest investigations
With task forces and government officials looking into concert safety, a fan's experience may not be the same after the investigations into Houston's tragedy are complete.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With task forces and government officials looking into concert safety, your next live show could look different once they're completed.

On Friday, The Astroworld Festival started with chaos and ended in tragedy. Now, the grounds have become a memorial.

"Really, really distraught," fan Gerard Williams said. "Nobody should come to a concert and die."

RELATED: Houston releases permits issued in advance of Astroworld Festival

This week, fans brought flowers, candles and photos. Some didn't just go to pay respects, Elle King had change in mind.

"There has to be some sort of formulation or equation for security and medical staff to the amount of people," Elle King said.

Those are changes that aren't only on the minds of fans.

SEE ALSO: Victims recap timeline of Astroworld tragedy that killed 8 people

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he plans to look closely at future general admission concerts.

"How did this happen? That's certainly a question at the top of the mind for me," Turner said. "How did it happen? Where were there missteps? Was the ball dropped? Dropped by whom?"

The festival at NRG was a general admission set-up. This means concertgoers bought a ticket and found space inside to watch the show.

It's a format that organizer and headliner Travis Scott used in the past. But Concertgoers believe there were more fans than in previous years, and not nearly enough staff, creating a recipe for disaster.

"Whenever you go to wait in the merchandise line, and you're having to wait four hours to get to the front of the line, that just sounds like there aren't enough people," fan Patrick Garcia recalled. "Now imagine how many trained medical professionals were there."

Multiple investigations are underway. It could lead to changes with general admission shows.

On Wednesday, we learned Texas Gov. Greg Abbott formed a task force.

The group will look at crowd control, security and drugs at concerts.

It'll include law enforcement and music community members.

"They should sit down with promoters, marketers and say, 'Hey, how should we do this? What should we do?" Sunnyside Posse Management's Ant Boogie said.

Boogie said changes should impact all genres of music, not just hip-hop.

Here's how the next live show you attend could look different.

There could be an enhanced security presence from the moment you approach the venue throughout the show. There could also be changes with setups.

The Astroworld Festival had no separate areas for the general admission crowd. People pressed against barricades and filled space.

Some venues have recommended gated sections. This could make it easier for responders to move around and help with the flow of concertgoers.

This isn't the first concert that caused a melee in Houston.

More than 30 years ago, seven people were hurt after gunfire erupted during a concert at Memorial Park at Miller Outdoor Theater.

Shots rang out after the crowd started to surge on the artist. It's the surge three decades later that concertgoers at the Astroworld Festival say led to the disaster.

It isn't the first time a surge turned a concert deadly.

More than 40 years ago, eleven people were killed at The Who's show in Cincinnati, Ohio.

After thinking the show started, the crowd surged toward the arena, resulting in the deaths. The city banned general admission shows for 25 years.

When festivals started back up, tickets were limited, and more of a focus was placed on security in place before doors opened. Those are stricter measures that could be coming to Houston.

Fans told ABC13 they weren't sure if general admission shows should be banned, but some said they weren't ready to return to them either.

"Not anytime soon," fan Jan Castillo said. "I feel like (we), as a community, really need to sit down and realize what happened and put ourselves in the perspective of being more safe and take care of everybody."

It's a healing that could generate change to ensure this type of chaos and tragedy doesn't happen again.

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