A Texas state task force has outlined several recommendations aimed at improving safety at large events like music festivals, some five months after the crowd crush tragedy at Travis Scott‘s Astroworld left 10 people dead and many more injured last year.
The Texas Task Force on Concert Safety was established by Texas Governor Greg Abbott following the Astroworld tragedy, with the aim being to find ways to help prevent such an incident from occurring at large-scale events in the future. Music industry representatives, law enforcement and event safety experts were among its members.
The task force’s report, which was delivered to Governor Abbott on Tuesday (April 19), identifies five key themes in its findings, with its recommendations “narrowly tailored to address gaps that were identified as contributing to safety failures” at Astroworld. The festival itself took place at NRG Park in Houston on November 5, 2021.
The task force’s recommendations include the implementation of a central on-site command and control group at large events, which would be responsible for pausing or cancelling a show in the event of specific safety “triggers”. Those “triggers” would be agreed upon prior to an event taking place, the task force advised, and should be part of the permit application process.
Other recommendations include a more consistent permitting process, which could provide clarity around whose jurisdiction and authority it is for shutting down an event “in the face of a life-threatening incident”.
A universal permitting process would require event promoters and venues to follow the same regulations and protocols. In the case of Astroworld, the county had sanctioned the event but the city was responsible for incidents that occurred at it. There was no occupancy permit required for the event – something typically determined by the Fire Department.
Elsewhere, the task force emphasised the need for adequate training for security and event staff. Astroworld organisers were criticised for a lack of preparedness among security contracted to work the event. Two security guards who worked at the festival filed a lawsuit against organisers, claiming that no training was provided and little instruction was given prior to guards beginning their shifts.
Additionally, the task force recommended that artists and event promoters should work together to encourage safety, citing that some artists have a “documented history of encouraging attendees to disregard public safety”.
While the task force didn’t name Scott specifically, the rapper’s history of appearing to encourage potentially dangerous crowd behaviour was noted by multiple publications following the Astroworld tragedy. Such incidents include when Scott plead guilty for reckless endangerment after encouraging fans to climb security barricades at a show in 2015.
Scott is currently facing hundreds of lawsuits over the events that unfolded at Astroworld. Last month, the rapper was accused of violating a gag order relating to the incident when he announced his Project HEAL initiative in response to the tragedy.