Gov. Abbott Creates New Texas Task Force on Concert Safety
Live music has made its return in Texas, but after the tragedy at the Astroworld concert in Houston, changes are being made to prevent future causalities.
According to a press release from the Office of the Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a task force led by Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony is being established to offer safety and security to concert attendees.
What Happened at Astroworld?
Rapper Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival performance in Houston was sold out to a crowd of approximately 50,000 people. Some concert goers were unruly and reportedly took down a gate in an effort to get into the venue. Things only escalated after that, and while Scott was performing things hit their peak.
Fans pushed against one another, and it was as if the entire crowd turned into a mosh pit. Those who fell to the ground were unable to get back up, and were trampled by those around them. Tragically, 9 people lost their lives, and hundreds of others were seriously injured.
Who Will Be on the Task Force?
In addition to music industry representatives to be announced in the coming days, the task force will consist of representatives from the following organizations:
- Texas Music Office
- Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas
- Sheriffs' Association of Texas
- Texas Department of Public Safety
- Texas Municipal Police Association
- Texas Police Chiefs Association
- Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
- Texas State Association of Fire Fighters
Goals for the Future
"Live music is a source of joy, entertainment, and community for so many Texans — and the last thing concertgoers should have to worry about is their safety and security," said Governor Abbott.
"To ensure that the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival never happens again in the Lone Star State, I am forming the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety. From crowd control strategies to security measures to addressing controlled substances, this task force will develop meaningful solutions that will keep Texans safe while maximizing the joy of live music events. I thank the members of this task force for coming together to work on this important issue."
The Blame Game
Several investigations are occurring as the public seeks accountability for the lives lost. Was it the venue's responsibility? The city? Travis Scott?
Public opinion is already unfavorable when it comes to Scott, and some believe his reputation will never recover.
Scott's attorney, Edwin F. McPherson of McPherson LLP, said in a statement to Rolling Stone, "There has been multiple finger-pointing, much of which has been by city officials, who have sent inconsistent messages and have backtracked from original statements."
"It was reported that the Operations Plan designated that only the festival director and executive producers have authority to stop the show, neither of which is part of Travis’s crew," McPherson said. "This also runs afoul of HPD’s own previous actions when it shut down the power and sound at this very festival when the performance ran over 5 minutes back in 2019."
"Investigations should start proceeding over finger-pointing," said McPherson, "so that together, we can identify exactly what transpired and how we can prevent anything like this from happening again."