Live Nation Entertainment has asked for, and received, more time to prepare its response to questions posed by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform regarding what happened at Astroworld in November. The entertainment giant had initially been expected to respond to those questions by January 7 with a briefing to follow shortly after.
“The Committee has been in communication with Live Nation, which has begun providing relevant information in response to our requests,” a committee spokesperson told Variety. “The Committee is committed to getting to the bottom of this tragedy and seeking accountability for those responsible.”
It is believed that the briefing will likely take place in early February, buying Live Nation several weeks of time to frame its response.
The committee, which has a broad mandate to investigate as it sees fit, demanded answers regarding what happened at Astroworld from the promotional and ticketing bohemoth in an open letter last month. That letter was signed by Carolyn B. Maloney, chairwoman of the committee, as well as four other members of congress including longtime Live Nation and Ticketmaster critic Bill Pascrell.
“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.”
“We are also concerned by reports about Live Nation’s conduct following Astroworld Festival,” continues the letter, referencing news reports that some employees at the concert are being asked to sign waivers to be paid for their work at the show. “Live Nation and its subsidiary reportedly have withheld pay until part-time employees who worked the festival have signed a revised employment contract,” the congresspeople write.
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.
Live Nation responded with the following statement: “We are assisting local authorities in their investigation and will of course share information with the Committee as well. Safety is core to live events and Live Nation engages in detailed security planning in coordination with local stakeholders including law enforcement, fire and EMT professionals. We are heartbroken by the events at Astroworld and our deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of the victims.”