Crowd Safety Webinar: learning points from Astroworld

Crowd Safety Webinar: learning points from Astroworld

ESI commits itself to sharing knowledge and learning from past incidents. In this spirit, we held a webinar this month analyzing  the events that took place at the Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas, on November 9, 2021. The webinar was built around several clips of the KPRC 2 documentary “Astroworld – Countdown To Tragedy”. We were joined by professionals from Australia and a number of other countries, including New Zealand, the UK, and India. In the discussion, we addressed the profile of the artist, earlier incitements of dangerous behaviour, the fact that there had been a previous gate storming, and the fact that for many of the younger revelers, it was probably their first big gig. Factors like these should greatly influence the risk analysis prior to the event and be on the table in discussions with local councils and police.

Using several incidents that occurred at the event as an example, we discussed how to act, and which decisions are to be made, in similar situations. For example, how is a red flagging procedure prepared and who is to decide on what? How and when do you stop a show, what could be the risks for patrons in the crowd if you do or don’t stop? There was agreement among the webinar participants that liability is a major concern, and that as an event organizer, you should always be able to explain what you’ve done and how you prepared for foreseeable problems. We also considered the role of the local government, police, and fire brigade; where should they be during a big festival, in order to be able to monitor, and detect risks and incidents in a timely manner? Who is responsible for what?

ESI is planning to hold webinars like this one more regularly. The next one is on June 20th, with Prof. John Drury talking about the first results of research that is now being done on potential patterns of disruptive crowd behaviour around events post-covid. Click on this link for more information.

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