NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – Those who have seen the deadly stampede of people at Astroworld in Houston say it’s time to consider adjustments to protect Music City viewers.
Butch Spyridon of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp said what happened was heartbreaking, but preventable. Whenever you have tens of thousands of people in one place, security and communication should be your top priority.
From what he could tell, there was little communication as to where headliner Travis Scott might stop the show at first sight of the issues. Scott continued his gig for an additional 30 minutes as first responders attempted to reach the injured. Eight people died and 300 others were injured as fans were pushed towards the stage.
âYou automatically start to think, are we doing everything we can to keep people safe,â Spyridon said.
As Nashville continues to be a destination for large crowd events, Spyridon says some changes are needed. Although they have had Nashville CVC staff on stage over the years, they will now designate someone to stop the gig if they suspect any issues.
âThe only thing we never said was who would go on stage to stop a show. That would be in the plan for New Years Eve. We have always discussed using our emcees to stop a show. announce the weather reports to everyone. We have to make sure we have the script, “Spyridon said.
Spyridon thinks the message should come from the police, so he hopes they can agree to the officers making the announcement. Otherwise, he says, the Nashville CVC will not hesitate to shut down an event if public safety is threatened.
This year’s NYE ââcelebration hosted by CBS will take place at Bicentennial Mall Park, as has been the case for the past few years. Spyridon says the park offers more flexibility than Broadway, but they’ll do a better job of indicating exits. The fence around the park will also be easily foldable so as not to interfere with the rush of people.
Spyridon says it’s not the first time they’ve adjusted how events work due to tragedy. He says they are now taking a closer look at the set design after the Indiana State Fair collapsed in 2011. After the 2017 mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas, Nashville CVC set up metal detectors leading to almost all major events.
Eric Holt is a concert promoter via Lovenoise, but he also teaches music business at Belmont University. His class has just completed a chapter on security from events, which he calls timely given what happened in Houston.
âIt’s always one of the great things you have to consider,â Holt said.
While some are quick to point fingers at Scott for not stopping the gig much sooner, Holt says it falls to more than one person.
âI know there are videos of people saying to stop the show and stuff, but he probably couldn’t have heard it himself. production and / or security personnel should have contacted his manager, which likely should have caused him to shut down the show to a minimum, âHolt said.
He naturally says that the artists will have to take some responsibility as they control a lot of the energy of the performance. That said, artists often perform in new venues every week. Holt says communication with emergency personnel then changes for each site.
Holt remembers the 1979 Cincinnati concert where eleven people died in a scramble to see The Who. Tickets were first come, first served, which meant crowds of people making their way through the few open doors. Artists and venues began to make crowd control changes after the deadly festival. Holt says he would like to see more venues rely less on general admission tickets to the festival where thousands of people are stuck together in one place without much space in between.
We know Scott spoke with Houston law enforcement before Astroworld, due to concerns surrounding the large unruly crowd. The event went as planned.
Scott took to the situation on social media, saying he was “absolutely devastated by what had happened”. He went on to say “Houston PD has my full support as they continue to address the tragic loss of life. I am committed to working with the Houston community to heal and support families in need. Thank you. to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their immediate response and support. ” Scott has since agreed to pay for the funerals of all the victims.
Lawyers are suing Live Nation event organizers and others for their role in the murderous festival. This is the second trial in what some say is a lot more trial after people were trampled on.
Live Nation, which also has offices in Nashville, did not respond to our request for comment. They posted a message on Twitter saying they are “heartbroken for those lost and affected at Astroworld. We will continue to work to provide as much information and assistance as possible to local authorities as they investigate. on the situation “.