Two Security Guards Sue Astroworld Organizers, Alleging Poor Preparation
A pair of security guards have joined the wide array of parties to have filed lawsuits in the wake of the Astroworld Festival tragedy, naming 28 parties in the complaint including Live Nation Entertainment, Travis Scott, Cactus Jack Records, and the security companies that were hired to staff the event. They allege that pre-event preparation was minimal and training was poor, leaving those on the ground ill equipped to do anything to prevent the crowded conditions that led to the serious injuries of hundreds and the deaths of ten festival goers.
Samuel and Jackson Bush, an uncle and nephew who had been hired by AJ Melino & Associates to work security at the event, filed the lawsuit this week in Texas asking for more than $1 million in damages. They contend that they have suffered both physical and mental injuries from their working at the event, including having to pull an individual from the crowd who later perished.
The lawsuit contends that AJ Melino & Associates “took very few measures to prepare its contracted employees for the chaos that ensued,” in Houston, failing to provide adequate training before the event and leaving those on the ground without walkie talkies or any other method to coordinate with event organizers in the event of any mishaps, which left them unable to react to the rapidly changing circumstances as Travis Scott and Drake took the stage and conditions worsened to the point where the deadly crowd “crush” occured.
According to Jackson, the only instruction they were given was to show up wearing black. “For the most part, they told us where to stand, not to let people run in, and to be safe and not to put our hands on anybody,” he told reporters. “There was no training.”
The lawsuit comes on the heels of critical comments regarding Live Nation’s security plans at the event by the Chief of Police in Houston, where the event was held. There were no protocols in place planning for how to react to an event such as the deadly crowd surge that occured, and had occured at similar events in the past, including a previous Astroworld Festival.
Since the event, numerous lawsuits have been filed against Live Nation, Scott, and other entities related to the management of the Astroworld festival, which saw an estimated 50,000 fans in attendance at NRG Park in Houston. Live Nation in particular has absorbed serious criticism over its operation of the festival, owing to a pattern of serious injuries and deaths that have taken place at events it has managed in the past. One lawsuit is seeking $2 billion in damages, with another asking for $750 million.
The wave of bad press has caused Live Nation’s stock (NYSE:LYV) price to dip to $112 as of Tuesday afternoon, following all-time highs of over $120 on the afternoon before the Astroworld Festival took place following a stronger than expected Q3 2021 earnings report. Its share price is still well above its all-time high prior to the earnings report, which had hovered at around $110 through mid-October. Its current price is more than 40 percent higher than LYV traded at one year ago, and almost three times what it was at the time of Saudi Arabia making a huge investment in the company during the worst depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, taking an estimated 5-6 percent ownership stake.