By Shira Freiman[*]
NRG Park in Houston, Texas served as a space where unthinkable tragedy unfolded on Friday, November 5th, 2021. Ten attendees were killed and hundreds injured at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Music Festival, which was scheduled to take place on November 5th and 6th. However, the second day’s performance was cancelled following the crowd crush incident that harmed so many.
A total of over 375 lawsuits were brought forth as a result of alleged negligence. Named defendants in the suits included Travis Scott, rapper Drake, tech mogul Apple, event promoter Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (“Live Nation”), and management company Tri Star Sports & Entertainment. On January 26th, 2021, the Texas Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted a motion to combine litigation of pre-trial proceedings to be heard before one judge. The consolidated lawsuit represents the nearly 2,800 alleged victims of this tragedy, with one of the allegations centered specifically on negligence in planning and conducting the Festival.
Lawsuits can take months or years to finally be disposed of, and many are left wondering if and when their loved ones will see justice. Accordingly, this piece will serve as a predictive analysis reflecting whether Live Nation Entertainment, one of the promoters of Astroworld, will face any legal consequences. It is the opinion of the author of this article that Live Nation will be deemed liable in some capacity for the tragic events of November 5, 2021. This prediction comes from a review of prior court decisions, ideas put forth by members of the legal community, and commentary from those familiar with the incident. Though at least two other concert promoters have been named in connection with gaining traction to the Astroworld festival, Live Nation is the largest and most recognizable name. Accordingly, this article will address only the potential liability of Live Nation.
Live Nation is involved in the business of amusement and recreation services. It is considered the largest live entertainment firm in the world and owns, operates, or holds exclusive booking rights to over 235 venues. Live Nation also holds ownership over Ticketmaster, which partners with event organizers to sell tickets for a variety of events. Live Nation and its subsidiaries are incorporated in the State of Delaware, which means that it receives many of the benefits provided to Delaware companies. These benefits include low startup costs and enhanced privacy, but of course do not in any way insulate the company from legal liability.
As the main promoter of the Astroworld festival, Live Nation had a unique stake in the event. Generally, the company produces concerts, sells tickets, and connects brands to music. This may also include providing security for the event. Per Live Nation’s website, security personnel job functions include“monitor[ing] and authoriz[ing] entrance and departure of employees, guests, and other persons to . . . maintain security and safety of the premises,” “patrol[ling] premises to prevent and detect signs of intrusion and ensur[ing] security of doors, windows, and gates,” and “apprehend[ing] or evict[ing rule] violators from premises.” Additionally, Live Nation security as expected to have a “[g]ood working knowledge of security operations, safety practices in a business environment and enforcement procedures” and the “ability to make independent and good judgment decisions within proper policy and procedures.”
As a promoter of the Astroworld Festival, Live Nation and its affiliates took on a variety of responsibilities. Those mentioned above apply specifically to security and do not necessarily reflect what was expected of Live Nation as a whole. In mid-December 2021, members of a congressional committee sent Live Nation a letter demanding answers to seven questions as well as any related contracts. As of the time of drafting of this article, the contracts have not been released to the public nor have the questions been answered. Responses were requested by January 7th 2022 but Live Nation was able to extend the timeframe of submission, which is now expected to be released sometime in February of 2022. In the meantime, Live Nation issued the following statement:
“We are assisting local authorities in their investigation and will of course share information with the Committee as well. Safety is core to live events and Live Nation engages in detailed security planning in coordination with local stakeholders including law enforcement, fire and EMT professionals. We are heartbroken by the events as Astroworld, and our deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of the victims.”
Given the explicitness in making safety a priority, many are left confused wondering why the event was deemed a “mass casualty event” by police at 9:38 PM that evening, but the concert continued until 10:10 PM. These concerns are especially aggravated by past (and later) instances where Live Nation has been sued for their alleged impropriety in caring for concert attendees. Most recently, a suit involving a death at a Live Nation-promoted event unrelated to the Astroworld tragedy was initiated in early February 2022. That incident occurred in December 2021, more than a month after Astroworld. This heightens concerns about the organization’s capability to foster a safe environment, as well as raises flags to a possible history of negligence.
In Texas, a negligence cause of action requires three elements:
- A legal duty owed by one party to another,
- A breach of that duty, and
- Damages proximately caused by the breach of duty.
Proximate cause requires cause in fact as well as foreseeability. Foreseeability is deemed to exist when “the actor as a person of ordinary intelligence should have anticipated the dangers his negligent act creates for others.” In the case of the Astroworld Festival, Live Nation had a duty to provide certain safety aspects including maintaining venue capacity and appropriately handling security issues. Live Nation appears to have possibly breached that duty from first-hand accounts of survivors. The unfortunate ten deaths and hundreds of injuries are a direct result of the incident. As the author of this article, I anticipate that the most hotly litigated issue will be whether both cause in fact and foreseeability were present to satisfy the proximate cause element. As more facts come to light and a clearer picture is painted the world will have a more concrete answer. For now, it is in the hands of the court to decide. Because of the inability to keep trespassers from the property that ultimately catalyzed the incident on November 5th, I conclude that the third element will be met and Live Nation will be found to have acted negligently.
About the Author
* Shira Freiman is a 2L at the Widener University Delaware Law School, with an expected graduation of May 2023. Before attending law school, Shira graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Arts in both Psychology and Criminal Justice. She is passionate about advocacy, education, and the law.
 Eight attendees were declared deceased on the scene of the incident, and two were reported to have succumbed to their injuries a few days later. See Astroworld Festival tragedy death toll rises to 10: ‘This was a blood bath,’ ABC News (Nov. 17, 2021), https://abc13.com/astroworld-htx-deaths-ezra-blount-bharti-shahani-madison-dubisk/11237335/.
 Per Curiam Order, In re Astroworld Lit., No. 21-1033 (Tex. 2022), https://www.scribd.com/document/556087772/IN-RE-ASTROWORLD-LITIGATION#download&from_embed.
 Astroworld Suit Seeking $750 Million Names Drake, Apple, Even Britney Spears’ Ex-Manager, RollingStone (Nov. 17, 2021), https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/astroworld-750-million-lawsuit-drake-apple-live-nation-1259274/.
 In re Astroworld Lit., MDL No. 21-1033 at 3. See also Joinder of Plaintiffs Mujahid Baig, Farhana Baig, Basil Baig, and Oliva Swingle, In re Astroworld Lit., No. 21-1033 (Tex. 2022), https://search.txcourts.gov/SearchMedia.aspx?MediaVersionID=d19005c6-14f0-41a6-a2e6-4d0eb7706335&coa=cossup&DT=BRIEFS&MediaID=d58814f7-71a3-4f86-b4bc-b23a3c3965e8.
 Hundreds of Astroworld Lawsuits Formally Combined into Single Giant Case, billboard (Jan. 31, 2022), https://www.billboard.com/business/legal/astroworld-lawsuits-combined-single-giant-case-1235025221/.
 See, e.g., Nancy Dillon, Promoters to Astroworld Employees: Promise Not To Sue Us If You Want to Get Paid, RollingStone (Dec. 17, 2021), https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/astroworld-workers-contract-liability-1273226/.
 Ticketing 101, ticketmaster, https://www.ticketmaster.com/ticketing101
 Why Incorporate in Delaware?, Delaware Inc., https://www.delawareinc.com/before-forming-your-company/benefits-of-incorporating-in-delaware/.
 Live Nation Entertainment, Live Nation https://www.livenationentertainment.com.
 See e.g., Security, Live Nation https://livenation.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/LNExternalSite/job/Irving-TX-USA/Security_JR-43580 (job posting out of Irving, TX for a security guard with Live Nation. Astroworld did not take place in Irving, but this posting shows examples of what is expected of a Live Nation security guard).
 Members of Congress, Letter to Michael Rapino, President and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (2021) https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2021-12-22.CBM%20Comer%20et%20al.%20to%20Rapino-Live%20Nation%20re%20Astroworld.pdf.
 This article was last reviewed prior to submission for publication on February 4, 2022. An update to the posting will be submitted once the committee receives its inquiry responses.
 Live Nation Gets Extension on Astroworld Report From Congressional Oversight Committee, Variety(Jan. 7, 2022), https://variety.com/2022/music/news/live-nation-astroworld-congress-1235149281/.
 Congressional Panel to Investigate Astroworld Concert, Insurance Journal (Dec. 27, 2021), https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2021/12/27/647134.htm.
 For 37 minutes after officials declared a ‘mass casualty’ at Astroworld, Travis Scott played on, Houston Chronicle (Nov. 6, 2021), https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/lasko-reg-ceramic-tower-heater-with-remote-in-black/5511589?skuId=69590700.
 Astroworld tragedy highlights Live Nation’s lawsuit-ridden history, Fox Business (Nov. 10, 2021), https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/astroworld-tragedy-live-nations-lawsuits .
 Lawsuit Against Live Nation Details the Killing of Drakeo the Ruler, The New York Times (Feb. 2, 2022), https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/02/arts/music/drakeo-the-ruler-live-nation-lawsuit.html.
 El Chico Corp. v. Poole, 732 S.W.2d 306, 311 (Tex. 1987).
 Farley v. M M Cattle Co., 529 S.W.2d 751, 755 (Tex. 1975).
 El Chico Corp., 732 S.W.2d at 313.
 Astroworld’s Legal Fallout: What’s at Risk for Travis Scott and Live Nation?, Forbes (Nov. 9, 2021), https://www.forbes.com/sites/legalentertainment/2021/11/09/astroworld-update-travis-scott-drake-live-nation-and-organizers-sued-for-negligence-following-deadly-incident/?sh=2eaddfba2bbd.
 See, e.g., ‘There Were People All Around Me Screaming’: Firsthand Accounts of the Astroworld Tragedy, Complex (Nov. 7, 2021), https://www.complex.com/music/astroworld-tragedy-firsthand-accounts (“Multiple Astroworld attendees suggest the event didn’t have adequate security to stop the nonpayers [who broke into the concert, ultimately contributing to the crowd surge] and had too little medical personnel. . . .”).