In Texas, Concert Organizers Owe Attendees Heightened Duty

On November 5, 2021, during Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas, a surging and overpacked crowd was sent into a frenzy, causing hundreds to be injured and killing at least ten. After early investigation, it appeared that a significant number of the injuries were caused by trampling and crushing from overcrowded conditions. The scope and severity of the tragedy have brought its consequences directly into the public eye, leaving many unsure as to what exactly Travis Scott and the Festival promoters were responsible for. Is it really fair for the concert organizers to be held accountable for the crowd’s behavior?

In Texas, the law generally provides that the answer is yes. Under Texas law, concert organizers, therefore, have a duty under the law to “make safe the premises” where the concert will be held. Several factors affect who is considered the responsible party in premises liability cases, including the condition of the property and the actions of the owner and visitor, and where or not the owner had prior knowledge of the danger. This means that concert venues and festival grounds should have safety precautions in place in anticipation of a large attendance, potentially when the crowd will be forced into confined spaces by the stage, along with how safety will be impacted by the availability of alcohol if provided at the venue. Importantly, concert planners and promoters are charged with a heightened duty by law to ensure the safety of those who attend their concerts. This can potentially include the artist, promoters, and organizers.

            Examples of foreseeable ways that concertgoers are:

  • Slipping and falling
  • Falling downstairs
  • Being hit by a projectile
  • Being injured by fellow concertgoers

Each party involved in the Astroworld tragedy each played their part in bringing about its result. Travis Scott had a direct and significant influence over the crowd’s behavior. The venue was responsible for ensuring the condition of the concert grounds and their fixtures. The promoter typically is responsible for hiring security and emergency personnel, as well as maintaining communication with security and emergency personnel on the day of the event. In totality, it is likely that each party involved failed to some degree, leading to the mass death and injury that occurred in the crowded, dark Astroworld pits.

If you or a loved one was injured during the November 5, 2021, Astroworld festival, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. or Ben Agosto III at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713) 222-7211.