Attendees of Travis Scott’s Astroworld music festival sued the rapper and the event’s organizer, Live Nation, on Sunday, in what are expected to be the first of many lawsuits after a tragic crowd crush left at least eight people dead and scores injured on Friday night.
Manuel Souza filed a case just days after the incident, claiming the festival “failed to properly plan and conduct the concert in a safe manner.” The suit names Scott, Live Nation and other co-organizers, calling the deaths a “preventable tragedy.” Souza is demanding at least $1 million in damages, Billboard first reported.
A second suit, which also names the rapper Drake, was filed later Sunday by another attendee, blaming the rappers for inciting a “riot and violence” while claiming the organizers failed to provide enough security and medical services at the venue. Investigators are still probing the circumstances surrounding the performance.
The Houston Chronicle notes legal experts predict liabilities from the festival could stretch into the hundreds of millions of dollars, with many more suits filed in the coming days.
At least eight people, ranging in age from 14 to 27, were killed at the event in Houston on Friday night, the first day of the festival named after Scott’s album. About 50,000 people were scheduled to be there on Friday and it’s unclear what sparked the crush. Footage from the scene shows a chaotic surge towards the stage with many people pressed together. Some videos show attendees pleading with organizers to call off the show, or shouting out for help administering CPR.
Scott continued to play after the first reports of injuries, even after acknowledging that an ambulance had entered the crowd during his set. It’s unclear how much he was able to see from the stage, and Houston’s police chief also noted that officials on scene worried about ending the concert early.
“You cannot just close when you got 50,000 and over 50,000 individuals,” Houston police chief Troy Finner told reporters. “We have to worry about rioting, riots, when you have a group that’s that young.”
The rapper said after the deaths that he planned to fully cooperate with authorities, saying he was “absolutely devastated by what took place.”
“My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival,” he said in a statement this weekend. “Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life. I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need.”
Souza said in his complaint that Scott should be held accountable for the event, claiming the rapper has regularly encouraged aggressive behavior at past shows.
“This kind of behavior has long been encouraged by the festival’s founder and main performer,” Souza said, per Billboard. “His express encouragement of violence has previously resulted in serious violence at numerous past concerts.”
Local officials have vowed to fully probe the deadly incident, saying they would conduct “an objective, independent investigation as to what went on and how it could have been prevented, or if this was a situation that was out of everybody’s hands.”
“The families of those who died and everybody affected deserve answers as to what took place last night,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo told the Chronicle on Saturday.