Houston promoters weigh in on Astroworld Fest tragedy and what should change

ByCourtney Carpenter KTRK logo
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Houston promoters differ in opinion over Astroworld security
Two local promoters weighed in on the Astroworld Fest disaster, with both offering two different viewpoints on the level of security.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As questions about how the Astroworld Festival got out of hand go unanswered, Houston concert promoters discuss what could have been done differently and how they see the future of general admission concerts.

John Blomstrom, the founder of American Bands Management, has been in the entertainment industry for the past 50 years. What happened at the Astroworld Festival is weighing on him.

"I can't get past what the families are going through," said Blomstrom.

There are still a lot of questions when it comes to exactly what led to this tragedy. Blomstrom acknowledges how tough it can be to control a crowd of around 50,000.

"Once a push starts on a crowd like that, once it starts, it's very hard to stop. Very hard to stop. I don't care how much security you have," said Blomstrom.

Ant Boogie, the founder of Sunnyside Posse Management, has also been in the entertainment industry for decades. He thinks there should have been more security guards and stronger checkpoints in place.

"The first thing that ran through my mind was the lack of security. The checkpoints should have been a little bit more secure, and everyone, just like when you're going to an amusement park, how they check purses, they check everything, I feel like that wasn't done," explained Boogie.

Though rapper Travis Scott has been charged in the past for inciting crowds at his concerts, Boogie does not believe the rapper is to blame for this tragedy.

"I don't believe it's Travis Scott's fault at all. When I was growing up and we would go see Run DMC in concert, we didn't behave that way," said Boogie.

Blomstrom agrees in not blaming Scott, explaining it's not the genre of the music that was the problem, but the age of the crowd and popularity of the performer certainly play a role in how riled up a crowd can get.

"They (young people) just get more rowdy. Depending on the artist, it's not the style, but how big is the artist? How popular is the artist? Travis Scott is huge, especially in Houston," said Blomstrom.

After a deadly concert in Cincinnati more than 40 years ago, the city banned general admission seating for concerts. Even though they repealed the ban after 25 years, leaders then enforced strict guidelines.

From what we know so far, Blomstrom and Boogie do not think Houston has to go that far, but agree that changes do need to be made.

"What Cincinnati did worked. They haven't had that issue since then. Would I recommend it? Not without more information, I wouldn't," said Blomstrom.

"I pray that this was an isolated event. I think for future festivals that the security has to be tightened up," said Boogie.

If and when changes are made, they would like it to be a collaborative effort.

"It shouldn't just be a couple of police officers or a couple of people downtown. They should sit down with promoters and marketers and say, 'Hey, how should we do this? What should we do?'" said Boogie.