Travis Scott and Drake Sued over Deadly Astroworld Crowd Surge

A lawsuit filed by a concertgoer accuses the rappers of "inciting the crowd" in the disaster that left eight dead and dozens injured

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Nov 8, 2021

The wake of the devastating incident at Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival in Houston, TX, continues to develop.

A crowd surge during the November 5 performance left eight people dead and dozens injured, and lawsuits for the mass casualty event are beginning to hit the books — including one that names surprise guest-performer Drake as liable in "inciting a riot and violence."

Concertgoer Kristian Paredes is seeking over $1 million USD in damages, as well as coverage of his medical expenses for his "severe bodily injuries" — some of which are permanent. Entertainment giant Live Nation is also implicated in the suit, as the company reportedly failed to provide adequate medical help and security.

"Many begged security guards hired by Live Nation Entertainment for help, but were ignored," the document added [via DailyMail].

Paredes recalls feeling "an immediate push" at the front of the general admission section when the countdown to Scott's performance ended and the rapper appeared onstage around 9 p.m. CT. Then, "the crowd became chaotic and a stampede began."

According to The Houston Chronicle, crowd surges started around 30 minutes after Scott's set began. Police and firefighters declared the concert a "mass casualty" event at 9:38 p.m. CT. After this declaration, promoters reportedly agreed to cut the show short, but it went on until the rapper finished as scheduled at 10:15 p.m. CT, with Scott stopping the crowd multiple times to point out fans in distress to security.

Drake's appearance for the final few songs of the set further upped the ante, and the two performers reportedly continued to incite the crowd — as would align with the history of the Astroworld enterprise and its encouragement of aggressive audience environments, which Scott refers to as "ragers."

Seeking a trial by jury, Paredes' suit argues that the Astroworld deaths and injuries were the results of "negligence, carelessness and recklessness" on the part of the "defendants, their agents, servant and employees, in the ownership, management, maintenance, operation, supervision and the control of the subject premises."

"There is no excuse for the events that unfolded at NRG stadium on Friday night," attorney Thomas J. Henry, who's representing Paredes, said in a statement. "There is every indication that the performers, organizers and venue were not only aware of the hectic crowd, but also that injuries and potential deaths may have occurred. Still, they decided to put profits over their attendees and allowed the deadly show to go on."

Pardes' lawsuit is not the first of the many expected to come out of this disaster: injured attendee Manuel Souza filed over the weekend, calling the incident a "predictable and preventable tragedy" [via Billboard]. While Drake isn't named in his petition, Souza brings concert promoter ScoreMore into the equation. He's likewise seeking $1 million USD in damages from the defendants, citing their "encouragement of violence."

"Defendants failed to properly plan and conduct the concert in a safe manner," Souza's attorney Steve Kherkher said in a statement. "Instead, they consciously ignored the extreme risks of harm to concertgoers, and, in some cases actively encouraged and fomented dangerous behaviours."

It was announced today that Scott was pulling out of a scheduled appearance at Day N Vegas Festival in Las Vegas on November 13. According to Variety, the rapper is "too distraught to play." He's also announced plans to issue refunds to all Astroworld attendees.

UPDATE (11/08 3:05 p.m. ET):
A new report from the New York Post has revealed that Houston police chief Troy Finner visited Scott's trailer to voice his concerns about the crowd ahead of the rapper's headlining performance. Finner, who knows Scott personally, reportedly warned him about the "very devoted fans" that had amassed in the crowd of 50,000. This fact has been included in at least one of the gross negligence lawsuits filed against Scott and his team by Astroworld concertgoers.

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