On Tuesday (November 29), the City of Houston-Harris County Special Events Task Force published a new agreement with updated safety protocols for NRG Park—where a crowd surge took place during Travis Scott’s 2021 Astroworld Festival, resulting in the deaths of 10 people (hundreds more were injured). According to Billboard, the agreement aims to streamline safety measures and permit requirements for large-scale events at the entertainment complex.
The document, obtained by Billboard, states that any NRG Park event hosting upwards of 6,000 attendees will require an on-site unified command center staffed by the Houston Police Department, the Houston Fire Department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, as well as NRG Park and the event organizer.
The Houston Fire Department’s tasks will include site, security, and medical plans, as well as reviewing and approving event capacity. The HFD will also communicate with event organizers to make sure safety, medical, and site planning requirements are being met at the venue. Event plans will require a sign-off from the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, while security plans will require an additional sign-off by the Houston Police Department. The new task force will meet quarterly to review and expand safety protocols.
Back in April, a report from the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety was published, offering insights and takeaways from the Astroworld tragedy. The group was formed by Gov. Greg Abbott days after the incident, and their findings cited an inconsistent permitting process across Texas and lack of event security training and communication as contributing factors to the November 5 tragedy. The report also called for unified command and control.
Weeks after Astroworld ended, the medical examiner ruled that 10 people had died of compression asphyxia. In December, the House Oversight and Reform Committee announced an investigation of Live Nation over the promoter’s role in the tragedy. Scott and Live Nation are currently facing multiple lawsuits. In May, a woman and her husband filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Scott and Live Nation after losing their unborn child following the incident.