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Travis Scott Rejects Responsibility For Poor Astroworld Management – Above the Law

Silhouette of gavelIf you followed the CIRCUS MAXIMUS that was the 2021 Astroworld Festival, there was a part of the back of your brain that saw each resulting news article that went, “Yeah, somebody is gonna get sued for that.” If you haven’t, here’s a rundown. On November 5th, 2021, a Travis Scott concert turned tragic. Mismanagement led to crowd crush that killed 10 people and spawned a slew of religious conspiracies:

Since then, the question of who to blame has taken on legal significance. Several of the attempts to hold someone accountable have been levied against Travis Scott. He’s arguing that the blame isn’t on him. From Law360:

Rapper Travis Scott, the safety director of the 2021 Astroworld Festival and other defendants have asked a Texas judge to free them from a slew of lawsuits stemming from the concert’s fatal crowd crush, with roughly two months until the first plaintiff is set to go to trial.

In a 67-page motion for summary judgment for the more than 1,500 cases in multidistrict litigation created to handle claims stemming from the disaster, Scott wrote Monday that the Astroworld attendees can’t hold him liable for their injuries because no “special relationship” existed between himself and the concertgoers.

Legally speaking, his position makes sense. When determining tort liability, establishing a duty of care is a threshold issue. The average concertgoer attends a rap concert to see a master of ceremonies, not a masterful hour-long presentation on public safety that would make OSHA proud. When concerts go bad, it is fair game to blame the artist. But when concerts go as bad as they did at Astroworld, you blame whoever was in control of the venue. That probably wasn’t Travis. It is even harder to put the blame on him once you look at his behavior during the concert:

[H]e stopped the show himself three times to “get a temperature check” because he “felt something was going on,” but said he didn’t see anyone unconscious or receiving medical attention during those times, according to the deposition excerpts.

“I can’t see that far,” Scott said of his view from the stage, according to court documents. “I can barely even see, like, you know, past the front row.”

During one of his voluntary stoppages, Scott asked for a light to be shone on someone who was climbing a tree in the crowd so he could make sure “he was cool,” according to the deposition. Another time, he stopped the show and pointed to “red and blue lights” in the audience, which he later found out was a medical cart, according to the transcripts.

Even if there wasn’t a legal duty, the events would suggest that he still cared for his fans. The safety director of Astroworld — someone you’d expect to be held accountable for what happened — had this to say:

“Based on [Seyth] Boardman’s view at the time, there was no likelihood of serious injury,” he wrote in his brief. “Boardman had worked many live music festivals before with similar crowds, and none had resulted in multiple deaths from compression asphyxia, let alone the tragedy that unfolded at Astroworld.”

He added that he had worked two previous Astroworld festivals at the same venue without problems.

“Based upon his experience of over 25 years, nothing about the event was unusual leading up to the injuries,” Boardman wrote. “Given its similarity to the prior two Astroworld festivals and many other festivals and outdoor concerts, the evidence establishes conclusively that, when viewed objectively, the festival did not involve an extreme risk of harm.”

Lawsuits to square responsibility are likely to continue.

Travis Scott Says He Had No Duty Over Astroworld’s Safety [Law360]


Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s.  He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at cwilliams@abovethelaw.com and by tweet at @WritesForRent.



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