Astroworld Organizers Oversold Event, Court Documents Reveal

Travis Scott's Houston festival that tragically killed 10 people should have been limited to 34,500 attendees instead of 50,000, as per state fire code

Photo: Alexander Londoño

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Mar 20, 2024

New court documents obtained by Houston Landing have revealed that a miscalculation on the part of Astroworld organizers contributed to too many people being at the November 5, 2021, festival, which resulted in a fatal crowd surge leading to the tragic deaths of 10 attendees and left dozens injured.

According to the docs, the team behind Travis Scott's event were also worried just 10 days prior to the fest about how they would fit 50,000 people outside Houston, TX's NRG Park.

"I feel like there is no way we are going to fit 50k in front of that stage," Astroworld security director Seyth Boardman had written to the festival's operations director. "Especially with all of the trees!"

Organizers miscalculated a state fire code mandating that each attendee must have seven square feet of room to avoid overcrowding, mistaking thinking it was five square feet. If the correct calculation had been applied — alongside post-festival recommendations by a crowd management expert — the ticketed Astroworld audience should have only been 32,000 people, plus another 2,500 in the VIP section.

Gate-crashers were also a problem, with one of the organizers writing to Live Nation's senior director for global security operations that "hundreds without bands" were on the perimeter on November 5. "We are going to be absolutely screwed when the sun goes down."

As per Rolling Stone, Drake — who made a guest appearance during Scott's set at the festival — requested earlier this month that he be dismissed from the ongoing litigation surrounding the tragedy. His attorneys argued that the rapper "did not receive any security briefings, was not informed of any crowd control issues, injuries or deaths in the crowd, or any stop show orders at any time either before or during his 14-minute performance." 

Back in November 2023, Drake was questioned for several hours in a deposition from one of the hundreds of lawsuits that named him, Scott, promoter Live Nation and more in the aftermath of the tragedy. Scott's lawyer claimed in September that the rapper's phone is at the bottom of the gulf of Mexico during his questioning, which reportedly lasted eight hours. This followed a 19-month investigation and a grand jury decision that Scott would not face criminal charges.

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