Records turned over by Live Nation Entertainment regarding the staffing of important security positions for the Astroworld Festival were “just not good” according to Houston’s Chief of Police Troy Finner at a news conference this week. The event had hundreds of police officers working in addition to private security, but the event promoters were ultimately in charge of safety. Eight crowd members were killed and hundreds more were injured at the Houston festival Saturday, prompting a reckoning for the world’s largest concert promoter and its spotty safety record over the years.
Speaking to the media for the second time in the wake of the tragedy, Finner was at times defensive about his department’s role in the security of the festival, according to the Associated Press. He did not intend to “cast blame on any organization” with his remarks, but did specify that Live Nation was in charge of securing the two “mosh pit” areas directly in front of the stage during the event. Emergency plans for the festival did not include any protocols for a dangerous crowd surge, which is blamed for the deaths at the festival when people were packed too tightly and got compressed as people rushed to the stage, rendering them unable to breathe.
“How did this happen? That is a question that remains on all of our minds,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said earlier Wednesday. “How did this happen? Where were the missteps? Where were the failures? Where were the gaps? We owe it to the family members, all of those who attended and quite frankly the city as a whole, to the first responders, all of them, how did this happen?”
On Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that a task force would be formed to develop recommendations for concert safety that would “ensure that the tragedy that occured at the Astroworld Festival never happens again.”
In his remarks, Finner made clear that the decision on whether or not to end the show was exclusively Live Nation and the performers’ – not the police department’s. “When you say authority and ability to end the show, we don’t hold the plug. But it’s always in the plan, it’s always a discussion of how that would happen,” he said. “We had those discussions with the promoters.”
In the wake of the event, Live Nation Entertainment has indicated an intention to refund all those who purchased tickets to the Astroworld Festival, which abruptly ended during Scott’s set Saturday and saw its planned second day cancelled. No formal announcement of how or when that might take place has been detailed yet. As of Thursday morning, the company’s stock (NYSE: LYV) stands at $115, sharply down from its Friday peak of over $123 following solid earnings numbers for Q3 2021. The company and Scott are among the many that have been targeted by a flurry of lawsuits in the days since the event.
Last Updated on November 11, 2021