On anniversary of Astroworld tragedy, what has changed?

Southwest
Travis Scott

FILE – Travis Scott performs at Day 1 of the Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park on Nov. 5, 2021, in Houston. The families of two people who died during last year’s deadly festival have settled wrongful death lawsuits they had filed, according to attorneys. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

(NewsNation) — Pink bows tied across downtown Houston mark the one-year anniversary of the horrific concert tragedy that led to death, injury and lawsuits. Yet many question whether enough has changed.

On Nov. 5, 2021, a crowd surge at the Travis Scott Astroworld concert in Houston, Texas, killed 10 people, hospitalized 25 and injured hundreds. Yet another deadly crowd surge in which 150 young people died in Seoul, Korea, has grabbed headlines.

“Nothing has changed because the industry powers that be don’t have to make changes and are not interested in making changes, and Houston is the latest terrible example,” Paul Wertheimer, founder of crowd safety consulting service Crowd Management Strategies, told USA Today. “People are making too much money from live entertainment, so they look the other way on safety.”

Part of the reason the Astroworld concert was so deadly is that it took 40 minutes to stop the event after organizers were told concert attendees were “going down.” The victims were aged 9 to 27 years old. Scott received widespread criticism for continuing his concert even though people close to the stage were being crushed, trampled and had trouble breathing.

Others have accused festival organizers and law enforcement for not recognizing red flags as early as 10 a.m. the day of the concert.

“It was very clear that by what was happening with the folks rushing in through the gates several times throughout that day that HPD could really do nothing but try to minimize that as much as possible,” KPRC reporter Bill Barajas, who was there covering the festival, said in a new documentary.

In April, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and a task force released a 9-page report. A state investigation into the events is ongoing. Little progress has been made into a national investigation of which the results are still confidential, according to Congressman Al Green.

Experts say safety measures remain “largely haphazard” a year later, and that only tough legislation will prevent future tragedies.

“They said this is a wake-up call, but every time the industry gets a wake-up call, they hit the snooze button,” Wertheimer told local TV news station KHOU.

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