The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Astroworld:
Profits Over Safety

Nov 22, 2021

Lawsuits have piled up against the concert organizers of 2021 Astroworld Festival, where ten people died and several hundreds were injured, from being crushed together in the crowd during headliner Travis Scott’s performance.

The set-up of barricades, pathways, exits, and lights was insufficient, making the audience more vulnerable to collapsing into each other with no way out. This made it immensely difficult for security and emergency personnel to intervene with audience members in desperate need of medical attention. The hired security contractors reportedly assembled their team of workers within mere days of the event and with minimal training, according to one of the security guards.

An estimated 5,000 people apparently broke into the sold-out festival as a result. The 56-page security and emergency response plan for the festival made no mention of how to handle a dangerous crowd surge nor any specific strategies on how its staff should act in an emergency situation.

The festival was primarily organized by Live Nation, the largest live entertainment company in the world. It generates billions of dollars a year from events, making more than 53 million dollars in revenue from the 2019 Astroworld Festival alone.

Live Nation has been cited for numerous safety violations over the years. Since 2006 they have been connected to at least 750 injuries and around 200 deaths, according to court records and OSHA reports.

It is absolutely intolerable for there to be that many casualties occurring at events where people gather together to enjoy some entertainment. But like damn near every other capitalist enterprise, Live Nation makes all its decisions on the basis of maximizing its profits. As we witnessed from the Astroworld tragedy, these decisions come at the expense of safety, at the cost of human lives.