Regarding the recent tragic deaths at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, many are wondering how this possibly could have happened. As a 15-year veteran of organizing music festivals, I note that several protocols, if followed, should have prevented this tragedy. First, from initial news reports, it is easy to discern that there was not an adequate number of security trained in crowd management. There needed to be properly located security at key points throughout the crowd of 50,000 people, all connected by a centralized wireless communications system, with a clear emergency event reporting plan and chain-of-command, and the ultimate ability to quickly inform the performer to stop the show and address the crowd. Further, aerial shots of the festival venue show the grounds were divided into grids using professional crowd barrier. However, with such a large crowd, more sections extending farther from the stage were necessary, with carefully controlled ingress/egress points to prevent overcrowding in each section. With these safeguards in place, which should be made standard in the industry, this tragedy could have been avoided and those eight young people would still be with us today. Music festivals and similar events should be safe and fun for everyone, and I hope future event organizers (and performers) will take event safety and crowd dynamics more seriously.
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