FACT CHECK: Was Astroworld’s Venue Capacity 20,000?
A post shared on Facebook over 4,400 times claims concert promoter Live Nation allowed 50,000 people to attend Astroworld despite the venue capacity only being 20,000.
The event, which was held outdoors, had a capacity of over 200,000 people, based on fire code assembly occupancy calculations, according to the Houston fire chief.
Authorities declared a mass casualty event after a Nov. 5 crowd surge at rapper Travis Scott’s Astroworld music festival in Houston resulted in multiple deaths and hundreds of injuries, NPR reported. The crowd surge occurred as Scott was starting to perform, according to The New York Times.
Following the deadly incident, a viral Facebook post alleged, “$2 billion company LiveNation is so happy y’all blaming that incident completely on Travis Scott like they didn’t just schedule a 50k person event in conditions that could barely pass a 20k capacity venue, threw 2 water stations up and had an understaffed/undersupplied medical team on guard and called it good.”
Astroworld was held outdoors in a parking lot at the NRG Park complex, according to the Associated Press. In a Nov. 6 press conference, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said that “there is no occupancy permit for an outdoor event” but, based on fire code assembly occupancy formula calculations, it could have held over 200,000 people. However, city officials capped the event at 50,000 attendees, he noted.
There have been attendee reports of insufficient water stations and of the medical staff being overwhelmed during the crowd surge. Peña said in the Nov. 6 press conference that the “primary medical component” was provided by a third-party company. Authorities are investigating what caused the crowd surge, the Houston fire chief also said.
Over 100 lawsuits have been filed so far against Scott and concert promoter Live Nation in connection to the Astroworld crowd surge, the New York Post reported Nov. 13. At least 10 people, including a 9-year-old boy, who attended the festival have died, according to the Associated Press. (RELATED: No, TMZ Didn’t Tweet About A Lizzo Concert That Turned Deadly After A Stage Dive)
Scott has previously faced legal action in connection encouraging chaos in crowds at his concerts, such as when he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after encouraging fans at a 2017 Arkansas concert to fight past security and rush the stage and when he pleaded guilty in 2015 to reckless conduct after encouraging fans at the Lollapalooza music festival to jump over security barricades, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Houston Chronicle reviewed court records, Occupational Safety and Health Administration complaints and media reports and found Live Nation Entertainment and subsidiary Live Nation Worldwide “have been linked to at least 750 injuries and around 200 deaths at its events in seven countries since 2006.”
Live Nation said in a statement posted to its Twitter Nov. 8 that it is “working to provide local authorities with everything they need” for the Astroworld investigation and is “working on ways to support attendees, the families of the victims, and staff, from providing mental health counseling to setting up a health fund to help with costs for medical expenses.”