Astroworld organizers had 'strong hunch' on overcrowding, raising red flags weeks prior to tragedy

Mycah Hatfield Image
Friday, March 22, 2024
Astroworld organizers raised red flags weeks prior to 2021 festival
Newly filed court documents reveal Astroworld organizers raised concerns about overcrowding weeks before Travis Scott's 2021 deadly festival.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Newly filed documents in the Astroworld Festival civil lawsuit indicate that red flags were raised in the weeks before the event.

Hundreds of attendees are suing Travis Scott, Live Nation, and other festival organizers after 10 people died and numerous others were injured.

One of the plaintiffs hired Crowd Risk Analysis Ltd., Prof. Dr. G. Keith Still, to analyze the discovery entered in the case so far. He noted that the tragedy could have been prevented.

At the time, Carol Haave, Live Nation's chief security officer, sent an email on Oct. 27, 2021, 10 days before the festival.

"Our goal is for people to be safe. Where we are on notice about issues, we have to mitigate them per a reasonable industry standard," Haave wrote in the email. "Were we not to do that and something does happen, plaintiffs would argue that we knew about these issues and did nothing about them."

Houston Landing first reported that discoveries in the case show numerous emails sent by Haave sounding the alarm in the weeks prior.

She was part of an email thread with two other Live Nation executives on Oct. 12, 2021, when someone said, "My strong hunch is there will be stampeding and people hurt." It is not clear who sent the message.

"All these comments should have been sent six to eight weeks ago or even before we went on sale. We can only do what we can do three weeks out from the festival," Brad Wavra, Live Nation's festival director, said in response.

Still's report largely focused on the crowd's movement from one stage to the other. Several performers earlier in the day took to stage two. Scott was set to be the only performer on stage one. The crowd would have to migrate over for his performance. All 10 victims died in the same area of the crowd, which was closest to the other stage.

Messages sent between organizers show concern that there was not enough space for the 50,000 people in front of Scott's stage.

"These risks are discussed and documented risks, but the events operation plan makes no mention of how these risks would be monitored, managed, or mitigated," Still noted in his report.

According to court records, the concerns were even documented in the minutes of a meeting following the 2019 Astroworld Festival with people who would be key players in the 2021 festival. They cited crowd pressure problems with the barricades and wanted to be more proactive for future festivals by implementing a plan to mitigate those issues.

"There are some serious issues that have to be resolved," Haave said in an email on Oct.12, 2021. "2019 had serious issues, and a lot of eyes are on this year's festival."

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