On a Friday night in Houston, Texas, more than 50,000 fans would attend the sold-out Astroworld Festival. When rapper Travis Scott took the stage and began his first song, the crowd suddenly surged forward and those in front were crushed and trampled trying to escape the relentless press of humanity. In the end, eight concert-goers would lose their lives in this tragedy and hundreds more were treated for injuries, some of which are life-threatening. As investigations into the causes continue, lawsuits from victims’ families against the embattled rapper and the venue have begun pouring in.
The question that investigators will seek to answer is who is responsible—the venue? The artists? The contracted security company? Or even individuals themselves who may have caused the massive panic that would leave eight families grieving. Here, we’ll take an in-depth look at what happened in Houston and what to do if you are ever hurt at a live event.
Who’s Responsible For Concert-Goers Safety?
Whenever a concert or large outdoor festival takes place, the safety of attendees is usually paramount. There needs to be plenty of exit points, event security, lighting, emergency personnel, and other safety measures to ensure that tragedies on the scale of the Travis Scott stampede never occur. Live events like concerts and music festivals are generally a safe and enjoyable experience and millions of people around the world enjoy them every year, but large crowds also means more danger.
Some of the many ways you can get hurt or injured at a concert include:
- Violent concert goers or trespassers.
- Crowd control measures not properly in place.
- Lacking security measures and/or personnel for the size and number of people in the crowd.
- Unsafe weather conditions.
- Improper set-up of the stage, seating, or other areas.
- The direct action or lack of action on the part of the performers or event personnel.
The investigators of the Travis Scott concert tragedy will likely focus on two pressing issues— why the crowd surge happened in the first place and why people were not able to escape the wave of humanity that pressed towards the stage.
Not the First Time An Accident Has Occurred at Astroworld Fest
For a concert to happen, you have to have a number of different parties involved. The artists themselves are actually only a small part of the overall performance. There’s the event venue, promoters, third-party vendors like food and beverage providers, contracted security and event staff, and others that are all needed to have a safe and entertaining experience.
Negligence is a legal term that means that someone did not do enough to make sure that someone wasn’t hurt. In the case of the Astroworld Festival, we see that the tragedy that happened November 5th was not the first time there had been this same type of incident. Just two years ago, in 2019, three people were trampled and severely injured when the gates opened and the crowds surged into the venue.
Travis Scott Creates a “Zone of Risk” at His Concerts
According to Senior Partner Chuck Farah, Travis Scott may have even encouraged this behavior. His concerts are known to entice the crowd to push and get crazy so there may be something called foreseeability involved, in that he should have known this could happen and taken steps to prevent anyone getting hurt. “Scott created this zone of risk,” Chuck says. “Because he created this environment, he may be responsible in the eyes of the law. There’s a duty of the parties putting on the concert to be reasonable and keep people safe.”
When you represent injured victims like we do at Farah and Farah, you have to anticipate the argument the other side is going to make and that’s how we prepare the case. While Scott’s attorneys will surely argue that everyone going to the concert knew it was risky and there may be pushing and shoving, no one going would have anticipated it would go to the level where people could actually die at what was supposed to be a fun and enjoyable concert experience.
What Happens to Your Body During a “Human Stampede”
When you have thousands of people all surging forward or in one direction, a “trampling-type event” can occur, according to Dr. Justin Fairless, an emergency medicine physician in Fort Worth, who was interviewed in an article by the Houston Chronicle after the Astroworld tragedy. Trampling events unfortunately happen all the time at large outdoor events. One of the worst in modern history occurred in 2015 in Saudi Arabia when a crowd surged during a religious festival and at least 717 people were trampled to death. So-called “human stampedes” can lead to injuries and deaths in many different ways. Blunt force trauma to the head or neck and asphyxiation are two of the leading causes of deaths in these situations.
Hurt at a Concert? There’s Resources to Help You Recover
The Astroworld Festival in Houston highlights just how much is at stake when the event is set-up properly to maintain a safe environment for everyone in attendance. Our attorneys have first-hand experience helping victims in all manner of accidents and we’ve even had several festival injury cases over the years. If you are hurt at a concert, a fair, or any type of event, contact Farah & Farah for a free consultation about your case. We’ll cover all your options and what steps you can take from here to be made whole again.