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Deadly music festival incident puts focus on concert safety

Concertgoers are demanding a higher safety standard from organizers

ATLANTA — A deadly scene at a music festival in Houston, Texas has renewed concerns about concert safety among Atlanta music lovers. The tragedy at Astroworld has put event security in the spotlight after eight people died and hundreds more were hurt at the event Friday during a performance by rapper Travis Scott. About 50,000 people were reportedly at the concert.

Tom Smith, who said he personally felt safe going to concerts, said he would ramp up his awareness when in large crowds.

“I’m a generally kind of crowd-conscious guy anyways," Smith said. "I look around, make sure I know my way out if I can get out. I think I’m definitely going to be walking into concerts with a bit more crowd-consciousness.”

Multiple lawsuits have been filed in the wake of what happened in Texas. Attorney Jeff Shiver, who's not associated with those lawsuits, said venues and businesses have an obligation to keep customers safe if they invite people to the property. That principle would also extend to concertgoers and managing crowds there, the attorney said. Shiver said everyone from the promoter of Astroworld to organizers and Scott himself could be held liable in this situation. 

“It’s not immediately clear who may ultimately be found liable, but there are a number of different people and entities that would have the responsibility to make sure the event was a safe event," Shiver said. “Did they do anything in the promotion, say anything on Twitter or social media outlets that might have implicitly or explicitly encouraged this type of behavior? Did any of the talent prevent this from happening? Did they incite this on stage and make a small problem much worse?”

RELATED: Astroworld Festival tragedy: What we know about the eight victims

In a tweet, Astroworld promoter Live Nation said it was heartbroken over the lives lost and for those impacted. Another tweet stated the promoters of the event are helping authorities by providing video in an effort to get answers for security breakdowns. 

Scott took to Instagram, saying he was devastated by what happened. The rapper paused the concert at several points after being notified of harm being done in the crowd. However, the concert kept going, and fans noted that there has been a previous history of Scott's concerts getting rowdy.

“This isn’t going to completely change the industry, but I certainly hope and expect that this will put into acute focus the need to, at every stage in the planning, look at what can be done to control the crowd if something were to occur," Shiver said.

RELATED: What happened at Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert? Crowd surge explained

Angel Warren, an Atlanta concertgoer, said she will think twice before going to a large live event.

"With that size, no," Warren said. "I mean, I don’t think I’ll be going to concerts with the huge standing room, especially with COVID and everything like that. I think we’re so desensitized to mass harm that this kind of thing is getting attention. But it’s not getting the level of attention that it deserves. Eight people dead at a concert where you’re supposed to be having fun and enjoying music is completely unacceptable. Something’s got to be done about it.”

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