Concertgoers sue over crowd surge at Astroworld music festival

FAN Editor

At least three lawsuits have been filed on behalf of people who say they were injured at the Houston music festival where at least eight people were killed. The defendants include rappers Travis Scott and Drake and venue and entertainment company Live Nation. Two of the suits are seeking $1 million in damages.

A crowd surge occurred during Scott’s performance on Friday night, when concertgoers started to “compress” toward the stage, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said early Saturday. 

“That caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries,” Peña said. At least eight people, including two teenagers, were killed and dozens were hospitalized. 

A civil suit by plaintiff Kristian Paredes against Scott and Drake blames them for negligently inciting “a riot and violence.” The suit, one of those seeking $1 million in damages, also claims Live Nation failed to provide adequate security and medical services at the Astroworld festival.

Music Festival Deaths
Visitors cast shadows at a memorial to the victims of the Astroworld concert in Houston on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. Robert Bumsted / AP

The suit alleges that Scott, who founded the festival in 2018, “had incited mayhem and chaos at prior events,” and says the other defendants didn’t take steps to prevent that behavior. It did not provide any examples of such conduct. 

It also claims Drake, who appeared as a surprise performer, “helped incite the crowd even though he knew of [Scott’s] prior conduct,” and “continued to perform on stage while the crowd mayhem continued.” 

Scott and Drake declined to comment on the lawsuit.

In a statement Saturday, Scott said he was “absolutely devastated by what took place.” Representatives for Live Nation did not immediately respond to CBS News’ request for comment. 

The lawsuit says Paredes was standing at the front of the general admission section at the time, near a metal barrier separating the VIP section from the rest of the crowd. When Scott began performing, Paredes “felt an immediate push” before “the crowd became chaotic and a stampede began,” the lawsuit says.  

“Many begged security guards hired by Live Nation Entertainment for help, but were ignored,” the lawsuit adds.   

Travis Scott
Travis Scott performs at Day 1 of the Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park on Friday, November 5, 2021, before the deadly crowd surge.  Amy Harris/AP

As a result of the incident, Paredes “suffered severe bodily injuries” that “had a serious effect on the Plaintiff’s health and well-being,” the lawsuit says.  

“Some of the effects are permanent and will abide with the Plaintiff for a long time into the future, if not for his entire life,” the suit says.  

In addition, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said Sunday that he’s filed a lawsuit on behalf of 21-year-old Noah Gutierrez, and expects to file more for other alleged victims next week. 

“We are hearing horrific accounts of the terror and helplessness people experienced — the horror of a crushing crowd and the awful trauma of watching people die while trying unsuccessfully to save them,” Crump said in a statement. “We will be pursuing justice for all our clients who were harmed in this tragic and preventable event.”

Scott, Live Nation and concert promoter Scoremore are defendants in a suit seeking $1 million in damages for Manuel Souza. That suit claims Souza “suffered serious bodily injuries when the uncontrolled crowd at the concert knocked him to the ground and trampled him.”

His injuries, the suit asserts, “were the inevitable and predictable result of (the) defendants’ conscious disregard of the extreme risks of harm to concertgoers that had been escalating since hours earlier. … Eventually, due to (the) defendants’ active decision to let the show go on, the  scene devolved into a complete melee, resulting in the needless, untimely death of at least 8 people and injuries to scores of others.”

Additional reporting by Brian Dakss.

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