Astroworld tragedy: Gov. Abbott forms Texas Task Force on Concert Safety in wake of Houston festival

Thursday, November 11, 2021
Gov. Abbott forms Texas Task Force on concert safety
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has put plans into motion to form a task force aimed at improving live music safety in the wake of the Astroworld Festival.

In the aftermath of the Astroworld Festival tragedy that claimed the lives of eight people, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the formation of the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety.

According to the governor's office, the task force will be led by Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony and will consist of safety experts, law enforcement, fire fighters, state agencies, music industry leaders, and others.

A series of roundtable discussions are being planned to analyze concert safety and develop ways to enhance security at live music events in Texas.

Abbott's office adds the task force will produce a report of recommendations and strategies following the meetings to ensure concert safety and protect concertgoers.

"Live music is a source of joy, entertainment, and community for so many Texans - and the last thing concertgoers should have to worry about is their safety and security," said Abbott. "To ensure that the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival never happens again, I am forming the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety. From crowd control strategies to security measures to addressing controlled substances, this task force will develop meaningful solutions that will keep Texans safe while maximizing the joy of live music events. I thank the members of this task force for coming together to work on this important issue."

Aside from music industry representatives, the task force is expected to include members of multiple organizations, including the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters.

Eyewitness News reached out to the governor's office for an interview to elaborate on the task force's formation. Officials referred us to the governor's announcement.

Astroworld Fest's security and safety going forward have been top of mind for officials as questions remain about how things got out of hand.

But longtime promoters admit, controlling a crowd of 50,000, said to be the number of people at the festival Friday night, would not be easy for anyone.

"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 John Blomstrom, founder of American Bands Management.

Blomstrom has been in the entertainment industry for the past 50 years.

ABC13 also talked to Ant Boogie of Sunnyside Posse Management, who argues 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.

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

Meanwhile, investigators are looking into if drugs played a role in the disaster.

The Wall Street Journal reports that numerous people who were hurt had to be treated for opioid overdoses.

Multiple drugs were allegedly found at the scene, including marijuana, cocaine and fentanyl, which is one of the deadliest opioids on the street.

Here's what else to know as we follow the latest on the Astroworld tragedy.

  • More than 20 lawsuits have been filed against the organizers of the concert. On Tuesday, SkyEye was over the concert venue as the plaintiffs' lawyers toured the grounds and took pictures.
  • Two people remain in the hospital, including 22-year-old Texas A&M senior Bharti Shahani. Her family says she no longer has brain activity. Ezra Blount, 9, remains in a medically-induced coma. Blount was sitting on his father's shoulders but fell during the chaos and was trampled. His father passed out, but survived.

It could be weeks before the medical examiner rules on the official cause of death for the eight people who were killed.