The House Committee on Oversight and Reform has opened an inquiry into Live Nation Entertainment and its role in the Astroworld Festival tragedy in November. They have asked for answers to specific questions by early January with plans for a briefing to be held on January 12, 2022.
A letter outlining the reasoning for the inquiry was signed by Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) Ranking Member Rep. James Comer R-KY) as well as Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NY), Kevin Brady (R-TX), and Al Green (D-TX). The committee, the letter points out, has “broad authority to investigate “any matter” at “any time” under House Rule X. It lays out the reasons for the investigation, which include concerns over the long history of safety issues at Live Nation-managed events, and more recent reports that contractors at the event were recently required to sign away their right to sue as a condition of being paid.
“Recent reports raise serious concerns about whether your company took adequate steps to ensure the safety of the 50,000 concertgoers who attended Astroworld Festival,” the Members wrote. “For instance, reports indicate that security and medical staff were inexperienced or ill-equipped to deal with mass injuries. Some attendees stated that the placement of barricades made it difficult to escape. Experts have stated that Astroworld Festival organizers failed to heed warning signs.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell is a longtime critic of Live Nation and a primary sponsor of the BOSS Act, which he and others argue is essential at reigning in what he regularly characterizes as its monopolistic practices at the center of the live entertainment business. He and the others are demanding information from Live Nation Entertainment President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Rapino regarding the events that took place at NRG Park in Houston.
“We are deeply saddened by the deaths that occurred at Astroworld Festival and are committed to investigating what went wrong to inform possible reforms that could prevent future tragedies,” the Members added.
At Astroworld, ten concertgoers were killed and hundreds of others were injured due to overcrowded conditions as headliner Travis Scott took the stage. As he began to perform, the tightly packed crowd surged, causing a compression effect that asphyxiated some stuck in the mass. Despite indications that a “mass casualty event” had occurred, it was more than an hour into the concert before Live Nation officials halted the event. In the aftermath, hundreds of lawsuits have been launched, including some asking for billions of dollars in damages, largely aimed at Live Nation as the principal defendant.
The Members asked a series of specific questions of Rapino, requesting that they receive responses to by January 7, 2022. It has additionally requested a briefing on the matter for January 12, 2022, with Rapino asked to “be prepared to address additional concerns regarding Live Nation Entertainment’s safety practices, including those relating to Astroworld Festival and other events organized by your company,” according to the letter.
The full text of the letter is available here (PDF opens in new window)
Last Updated on December 22, 2021 by Dave Clark