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Astroworld Tragedy Prompts Investigation By Congressional Oversight Committee
“My colleagues and I intend to get to the bottom of how a tragedy of this magnitude occurred and what reforms are needed to make sure it never happens again,” Chair Carolyn Maloney said.
A Congressional panel will investigate ticket giant Live Nation’s role in last month’s Astroworld tragedy, which left 10 people dead.
The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform have demanded information regarding the roles and responsibilities Live Nation took in its security planning for the event — and what the promotions company will do to prevent such future disasters.
“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,” committee members wrote in a letter to Live Nation Entertainment.
Specifically, the House panel accused festival promoters of hiring inexperienced security and medical personnel to work the concert, which they suggested turned into a “mass casualty event.”
“Staff were inexperienced or ill-equipped to deal with mass injuries,” the statement added. “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.”
In total, 10 concert-goers died in the midst of the concert’s founder and Houston hip hop artist Travis Scott’s headlining Astroworld performance on Nov. 5.
Franco Patino, 21, John Hilgert, 14, Brianna Rodriguez, 16, Rudy Peña, 23, Danish Baig, 27, Jacob E. Jurinek, 20, Axel Acosta, 21, Madison Dubiski, 23, Bharti Shahani, 22, and 9-year-old Ezra Blount were identified by Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences medical examiners.
According to Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, the victims died from compression asphyxia. Their manners of death were determined to be accidental.
Approximately 300 people were treated for injuries at the site of the concert and dozens more were taken to hospitals. Live Nation and Scott now face hundreds of civil lawsuits seeking damages related to the festival.
The House committee requested that Live Nation respond by Jan. 7, 2022. Members are scheduled to be briefed on the matter on Jan. 12.
“The tragedy at Astroworld sparked bipartisan concern, which has only grown as new facts have come out,” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, told Oxygen.com in a statement.
Maloney, the leading House member pushing the investigation, said Live Nation has a “long line of tragic events and safety violations,” which she’s previously described as “incredibly concerning.”
“My colleagues and I intend to get to the bottom of how a tragedy of this magnitude occurred and what reforms are needed to make sure it never happens again,” Maloney added. “Live Nation has a history of safety violations, and I look forward to hearing what steps they plan to take to prevent further injuries and deaths at their events.”
Live Nation, who confirmed receipt of the letter in a statement Thursday morning, said they’re cooperating with the House Oversight Committee.
“We are assisting local authorities in their investigation and will of course share information with the Committee as well,” a statement from Live Nation, sent to Oxygen.com, stated. “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.”
A spokesperson for Live Nation, however, declined to comment on the pending civil litigation the embattled events company is embroiled in.
Scott has also come under intense scrutiny following the deadly festival over fan allegations he, and co-performer, Canadian rapper, Drake incited the audience. The Houston performer has denied accusations he ignored screams from the crowd and kept performing once concert-goers started being trampled.
Houston Chief of Police Troy Finner had met with Scott shortly before Astroworld to communicate public safety concerns, which were reportedly ignored.
The family for Ezra Blount, the 9-year-old who was mortally wounded at Astroworld, also refused the disgraced rapper’s offer to pay for the young boy’s funeral last month.
Oxygen.com was unable to immediately reach David Stromberg, Scott’s manager, for comment regarding the pending congressional investigation on Thursday afternoon.