Planners foresaw danger at fatal Travis Scott concert

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Travis Scott performing at the Astroworld music festival in 2021.Image source, Getty Images

Organisers of rapper Travis Scott’s Astroworld music festival foresaw the crowding issues in 2021 that led to 10 deaths, new court documents show.

Ten days before, the festival’s safety head raised concern about the number of people who would be near the stage.

“I feel like there is no way we are going to fit 50k in front of that stage,” Seyth Boardman wrote to the festival’s operations director.

The exchange was one of many included in recent court filings.

The family of those who died at Astroworld submitted the documents that contained the alleged conversations and supporting information as evidence in the mass civil litigation they have filed against the festival’s organisers.

Expert evidence submitted by the plaintiffs claims that festival planners miscalculated the number of people that could be legally allowed on the premise to avoid overcrowding.

The new court documents show that organisers mistakenly thought the fire code allowed for seven square feet per person, but the actual number was five.

That seems to have contributed to a crowd of roughly 50,000 cramming into a space meant for only 34,500 people.

The defence team’s have not yet filed their expert reports in court.

The documents also illustrate that organisers appeared to be concerned that gate-crashers, those who try to attend events without a ticket or an invitation, could exacerbate the situation and further increase the crowd size.

“We are going to be absolutely screwed when the sun goes down,” one organiser wrote, warning about the crowds of un-ticketed people who gather around the venue’s exterior perimeter.

A woman stands at a memorial outside NRG Park, where the Astroworld Festival was held.

Image source, Getty Images

That issue was compounded by security lapses on the day of the event and a failure to monitor the crowd for signs of a potential crowd crush, experts alleged in the court filings.

This civil case is set to begin in May, and the defendants include Mr Scott, concert company Live Nation Entertainment and venue manager ASM.

Mr Scott’s live performances are known to be lively, so much so that crowd surges at his shows have been so strong that they have registered on earthquake monitors.But the crowd crush during his set at Astroworld on 5 November 2021 caused ten young fans to suffer fatal injuries.

An independent investigation into the fatalities was rejected by Harris County commissioners in 2021. A jury also declined to charge Scott criminally in June 2023.

Mr Scott has contended with numerous lawsuits since the concert, and he has successfully settled some of them. But he still faces several active civil cases.

Drake, the rapper whose real name is Aubrey Drake Graham, performed with Mr Scott at the festival and was named in some of the lawsuits as well.

He is seeking to be dismissed from those cases. His lawyers have argued that he had no involvement in the planning of the festival and was unaware of any safety problems before joining Mr Scott during his set.

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