The House Monitoring and Reform Committee said on Wednesday it would investigate the deaths of 10 people who were caught in a surging crowd during a concert in November in Houston.
Lawmakers on the bipartisan panel said they sent a letter about the investigation to Live Nation Entertainment Inc., which hosted the concert – the Astroworld festival at NRG Park – where 50,000 people gathered on November 5. to see a rapper from his hometown, Travis Scott and other artists perform.
The letter informed Michael Rapino, chief executive officer of Live Nation Entertainment Inc., that the company had until January 7 to provide details of the security measures it had planned for the festival, where a large and enthusiastic crowd rushed forward. from a scene during a performance of Mr. Scott.
“Recent reports raise serious concerns as to whether your company has taken adequate measures to ensure the safety of the 50,000 spectators who attended the Astroworld festival,” the committee members wrote. “We are deeply saddened by the deaths at the Astroworld festival and are committed to investigating what went wrong to inform possible reforms that could prevent future tragedies.”
In a statement, Live Nation said it was “helping local authorities with their investigation and would of course also share information with the committee.”
“Security is at the heart of live events, and Live Nation engages in detailed security planning in coordination with local stakeholders, including law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs,” the statement said. . “We are heartbroken by the events of Astroworld, and our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims.”
The concert promoter faces dozens of civil lawsuits, and the Houston Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation into the event, which appears to be one of the deadliest crowd control disasters at a concert in the States – United for many years. The concert was reminiscent of a 1979 Who’s show in front of which thousands of people rushed to the gates of Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum, killing 11 people.
On December 16, the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that the 10 people killed at the Astroworld festival died of compression asphyxiation, meaning they were crushed to death.
The victims were between 9 and 27 years old. The deaths were an accident, according to the medical examiner’s office.
Hundreds of people were also injured during the concert.
As the music resumed during the event, Mr Scott urged the crowd to “shake the ground”. He is also being sued, as are others linked to the festival.
Since the concert, Live Nation has wondered why it had not ended the event immediately after police and firefighters began receiving reports at 9:38 p.m. of an “event resulting in mass casualties.”
Instead, the concert continued for an additional 30 minutes.
In its letter, the committee asked for written responses to a series of questions about how Live Nation had prepared for the festival and responded to the tragedy, including asking when the promoter learned that authorities had said the concert claimed many lives.
People who attended the concert said the event was eventful from the start, with fights erupting throughout the day and people rushing to take center stage.
The committee cited this chaos in its letter and noted press reports indicating that “security and medical personnel were inexperienced or ill-equipped to deal with mass injuries.”
The letter added: “Experts said the organizers of the Astroworld festival had ignored the warning signs. “