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Feeling the Pain

Feeling the Pain

Last week, Security Systems News Editor Paul Ragusa was feeling the love. This week, I’m feeling angry and sad.

The horrible, unspeakable tragedy that occurred last weekend at the Astroworld Festival in Houston, in which eight people were killed and scores of others injured during a crowd surge at a concert headlined by rapper Travis Scott, created a wave of emotions for someone like me who has attended hundreds of concerts over the years, including massive stadium shows.

While I have only been in the first few rows at a concert a handful of times, I can only imagine what must have gone through the minds of those doomed concertgoers in Houston who were trampled to death amidst the chaos and confusion that unfolded, when all they wanted to do was enjoy themselves at a show.

I’m sure there will be many lawsuits filed, a lot of finger pointing, and numerous investigations taking place in the days, weeks and months ahead to get to the bottom of what went down at the concert.

As a security publication, it’s imperative that we take a closer look at what security measures were, and perhaps more importantly, were NOT in place that may have contributed to the deadly crowd surge. Ultimately, it comes down to poor event planning, management and safety measures:

  • Let’s look at crowd control, which appeared to be a security flaw in Houston. Did the venue allow too many people to stand right at the stage, which could have led to the crowd surge?
  • How about security manpower? Was there enough venue security on hand to keep the crowds contained to prevent such a mass trampling from taking place?
  • Did the venue have easy access for concertgoers to escape the madness that ensued and ultimately get out of harm’s way, potentially saving their own lives and the lives of others? 
  • Was there video surveillance throughout the venue to monitor any potential hazards so that the crowd surge could have been avoided?

I certainly don’t have the answers to these questions, but you can be certain that this will all be addressed as the investigations into the Astroworld tragedy continue.

So, what now? The security industry is one piece of the solution – along with event/venue management/operators, promoters, fire and safety personnel, insurance companies, etc. – in taking the preventative steps necessary to ensure that such a tragic incident does not happen again at a mass gathering, such as a concert or a football stadium.

It’s just unfortunate that it took the deaths of eight young concertgoers – including a 14-year-old – and injuries to dozens of others – including a nine-year-old in a coma after falling from his dad’s shoulders and getting crushed – to serve as a chilling reminder of what could happen when proper planning, management and concert/venue safety measures are not in place, which can lead to security and safety flaws and to catastrophic consequences like we witnessed in Houston.


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