Poor planning, poor security training, and failures in communication were cited by Texas officials in a report on the Astroworld tragedy last fall that caused the death of ten festivalgoers and injuries to hundreds more. The Texas Task Force on Concert Safety was put together by Gov. Greg Abbott in the wake of the tragedy, which occurred at the grounds outside of Houston’s NRG Stadium as Travis Scott performed.
“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,” Gov. Abbott said at the time of the task force’s creation. “From crowd control strategies and 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.”
The task force was chaired by Brendon Anthony, Director of the Texas Music Office. TMO staff provided support, with a who’s who of live entertainment, venue, law enforcement and other experts involved in the meetings and discussions.
According to the report issued on the task force’s findings, the recurring themes found by investigators included improvements needed in:
- Unified On-Site Command and Control
- Planning with Risk Assessment, and
- Centralized Resources
The high-level assessments seem to corroborate the initial reporting that came out of Astroworld. Among the scores of lawsuits are ones from security guards who allege they were poorly trained before the event. A report from Houston’s Chief of Police indicated that planning and staffing records were “not good.” And the fact that the Chief of Police was speaking about the event failures after it happened when his organization was one of those involved with the planning, risk assessment, and on-site command that clearly failed. Finger-pointing and blame has ensued, which is why this report came to be.
While it wasn’t designed to assign blame, the report’s findings seem to indicate where the failures by event planners happened that led to the tragedy, in hopes that such outcomes can be avoided in the future. Lawsuits (which are definitely intended to assign blame, at least by the plaintiffs), remain ongoing. A hearing before an important congressional committee for Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino to answer their questions on what went wrong in Texas had been scheduled for early this year, but remains indefinitely postponed.
“Safe gatherings are possible when everyone does their part,” the task force website reads. “The recommendations [in the report] are narrowly tailored to address gaps that were identified as contributing to safety failures at the Astroworld event. The TFCS also proactively used this process to enhance the State’s standard of safety practices for mass gatherings of all types.
“While some level of risk is inherent in any mass gathering, it is the opinion of the TFCS that proper planning will allow Texans to enjoy safe performances, concerts, and other culturally significant events,” it continued.
In addition to the report, a collection of resource documents were published by TFCS, which helped guide the recommendations from the report. Those are available here.
Last Updated on April 21, 2022 by Dave Clark