Disaster at Astroworld: Travis Scott faced with hundreds of lawsuits

December 7, 2021


3 min read

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What's going on here?

Travis Scott faces a surge of lawsuits after his Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas, which left eight dead and hundreds injured.

What does this mean?

According to the Independent, a total of 140 claims against Travis Scott, Drake and LiveNation have been brought by lawyers representing people who suffered during the sold out Astroworld Festival. In addition, a $2bn lawsuit on behalf of 282 claimants are seeking damages from Travis Scott, Drake, Live Nation and Apple among others. Tragically, eight people who attended the show lost their lives alongside hundreds of injured festival-goers, causing the Houston Police Department to open a criminal investigation into the event alongside the numerous lawsuits. However, it should be noted that attorneys who have been interviewed believe that it would be difficult to charge Scott with any criminal activity and that claimants would have greater success bringing civil actions. However, this is still in its early stages. 

In an apology video, Travis Scott mentioned that from his vantage point onstage, he was unable to notice the severity of the situation at hand and would have otherwise stopped the show if he knew the truth. However, this is under scrutiny as he continued to perform for an extra 27 minutes after the Houston Fire Department declared a mass casualty.

What's the big picture effect?

Undeniably, this tragic event has left many feeling scared to attend these sorts of events again. Coupled with the notion that this was one of the first major events of its kind since the lockdown restrictions eased, it is possible that artists and organisers will see a decline of interest over the months to come. Organisers such as LiveNation and venues are under intense scrutiny to put better measures in place to deal with incidents of this nature, with an emphasis on the need for staff  around the venue to be trained with medical protocol and basic first aid. There needs to be mass reassessment of health and safety and tighter risk assessments need to be reviewed and discussed. An example of how commercial gain was prioritised over safety was cited in the $2bn lawsuit. Initial reports suggest that the premises of the concert were arranged in a format that “best served Apple’s online streaming of the concert at the detriment to concertgoer safety”.

The reputational and commercial impact has been damaging, as it should be.  LiveNation, one of the world’s largest concert company’s stock plummeted after the incident and various lawsuits, losing over $1bn in market value. This  highlights how the venue and the organising company’s market value can suffer if they fail to take control, even if artists encourage  the crowd to act recklessly. It can be argued that the events ensued due to Travis Scott inciting the crowd, and it does not help that he does have a history of holding raucous shows. In  2015, he was sentenced to one year of court supervision after pleading guilty to reckless conduct charges. In 2017 Scott was arrested again for encouraging his fans to bypass security which left several injured. Even when there is no direct encouragement, Travis Scott’s concerts can be dangerous to attend, highlighted by the 2019 Astroworld Festival where there was a stampede when the gates opened. Where liability lies is yet to be seen, but either way, it is imperative that any concert promotion business learn from this and take the extra steps to protect themselves and fans to ensure that such a tragedy never occurs again.

Report written by Rida Ahmed

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