Congress launches investigation into Live Nation's role in deadly Astroworld concert in Houston

What happened at Astroworld 2021? 10 died after apparent crowd surge at Travis Scott concert

ByTom Abrahams KTRK logo
Sunday, December 26, 2021
Congress to investigate Live Nation's role in Astroworld tragedy
Congress is leading an investigation into Live Nation's role in the deadly Astroworld Festival tragedy that occurred at NRG Park in Houston on Nov. 5.

HOUSTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform announced Wednesday it is leading an investigation into Live Nation's role in the deadly Astroworld Festival tragedy that occurred at NRG Park in Houston on Nov. 5.

A letter was sent to the president and chief executive officer of Live Nation, Michael Rapino, requesting information regarding the tragic events that resulted in the deaths of 10 concertgoers.

RELATED: Astroworld Festival victims' deaths ruled as accident due to asphyxiation, medical examiner finds

"This a horrifying way to die, and absolutely preventable. Their families and our community deserve answers to make sure this never happens again," said Congressman Kevin Brady. "I pushed for this Congressional investigation to hold the concert promoters and organizers accountable, identify the causes, and make sure families no longer have to wonder if their child, friend or loved one will come back from a concert alive."

"Live Nation Entertainment was the concert promoter reportedly responsible for 'planning, staffing, putting up money, securing permits, finding vendors, communicating with local agencies,' for Astroworld Festival," said the letter signed by Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, James Comer, Kevin Brady, Al Green, and Bill Pascrell Jr.

According to reports, rapper Travis Scott took the stage at 9 p.m. and approximately 20 minutes later, medical staff responded to the first reports of injuries.

"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 representatives 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."

The House oversight committee asked that the information regarding the roles and responsibilities for the festival, security planning and the steps Live Nation took after being made aware that law enforcement had declared the event a "mass casualty" be released by Jan. 7, 2022.

Live Nation released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

"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."

WATCH: 'Got to get out' Witness recalls trying to stop Astroworld show

'We got to get out of here.' Ayden Cruz is one of the people seen trying to stop the Astroworld show. He describes the harrowing things he saw.

Scott's attorney, Ed McPherson gave ABC Houston affiliate KTRK an interview back in November saying the Astroworld production team would have "absolutely" stopped the show had the Houston Police Department requested it.

McPherson also said that Scott could not really see what was taking place past the stage. In the interview, McPherson pointed out that performers have music and producers in their earpieces. In addition, stage lighting makes it almost impossible for performers to see into a darkened audience arena.

"We are deeply saddened by the deaths that occurred at Astroworld Festival and are committed to investigating what went wrong to inform possible reforms that could prevent future tragedies," the representatives said of the investigation.

On Dec. 9, Scott sat down with radio and TV personality Charlamagne Tha God and gave his first interview regarding the tragedy.

Scott has maintained that he did not know about the fatalities or injuries at the time.

He was asked minutes into the nearly one-hour long interview when he knew that things went horribly wrong.

"It wasn't really until minutes into the press conference that I found out exactly what happened. Even after the show, you're just hearing things," Scott began. "But, I didn't know the exact details until minutes before the press conference. And even at the moment, you're like, 'Wait. What?'" Scott continued. "You just went through something, and it's like, 'What?'"

"So you didn't know people had actually passed away?" Charlamagne asked.

"No. Until minutes before," Scott said. "The thing is, people pass out. Things happen at concerts. But something like that. It's just like..."

WATCH: Travis Scott says he never heard fans' screams for help

Travis Scott spoke for the first time on the Astroworld Festival tragedy that killed 10 of his fans in an interview with Charlamagne Tha God.

Houston police officers and firefighters responded to reports of a "mass casualty event" by 9:38 p.m., according to HFD Chief Sam Pena.

The concert, however, continued until Live Nation stopped it at about 10:10 p.m.

SEE ALSO: HPD still investigating if any charges will be filed in 'accidental' Astroworld Fest deaths

The tragedy at Astroworld Festival follows a long line of other tragic events and safety violations involving Live Nation. Live Nation has been fined or sued numerous times over safety issues at previous events, including other incidents involving surging fans or stampedes.

Not only does Scott face hundreds of lawsuits, but production on his hard seltzer line has been put on hold for now, according to Scott's partner, Anheuser-Busch.