First Astroworld lawsuits land; Travis Scott and Drake are named as defendants

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A man raising his arm and vocalizing into a microphone on a stage
Rapper Travis Scott performs on Day 1 of the 2021 Astroworld music festival in Houston. (Amy Harris / Invision / AP)

The first lawsuits have been filed in the Astroworld music festival tragedy, including one that blames rappers Travis Scott and Drake as well as concert company Live Nation for the crowd surge that left eight people dead Friday and at least 25 injured.

A Texas attorney on Sunday filed that lawsuit, which also names NRG Stadium agent Harris County Sports & Convention Corp., accusing the defendants of prioritizing "profits over their attendees" during a concert in which concertgoers ages 14 to 27 were killed.

"Live musical performances are meant to inspire catharsis, not tragedy," read a statement from lawyer Thomas J. Henry, who is representing concertgoer Kristian Paredes of Austin. "Many of these concert-goers were looking forward to this event for months, and they deserved a safe environment in which to have fun and enjoy the evening. Instead, their night was one of fear, injury, and death."

A representative for Drake did not respond Sunday to The Times’ request for comment. Representatives for Scott and NRG Stadium declined to comment.

In a Monday statement, Live Nation said, "We continue to support and assist local authorities in their ongoing investigation so that both the fans who attended and their families can get the answers they want and deserve, and we will address all legal matters at the appropriate time."

The identity of the plaintiff in that suit was revealed in court documents posted by the Daily Mail.

According to witness accounts, a number of festival attendees struggled to breathe as the crowd began to compress toward the stage during headliner Scott's set. The hip-hop artist, as well as special guest Drake, continued to perform as an ambulance entered the crowd to help concertgoers in distress.

A press release attached to the Paredes lawsuit said: "By the time Live Nation finally decided to end the performance, 23 people required hospitalization, 11 were in cardiac arrest, and more than 300 had to be treated at a 'field hospital' on site."

During the concert, audience members repeatedly shouted, "Stop the show!" to no avail as people collapsed and got trampled on the festival floor.

"There is no excuse for the events that unfolded at NRG Stadium on Friday night," Henry said. "There is every indication that the performers, organizers, and venue were not only aware of the hectic crowd but also that injuries and potential deaths may have occurred. Still, they ... allowed the deadly show to go on."

In statements made since the concert, Scott said he is "devastated" by the deaths and pledged his support to Houston law enforcement investigating the incident.

"Any time I could make out anything that was going on, I’d stop the show and help them get the help they need," said Scott, who did briefly pause his set at points to acknowledge the presence of emergency medics and instruct security to aid one person who passed out.

"I could never imagine the severity of the situation.”

In a second lawsuit, reported by Billboard, concertgoer Manuel Souza sued Scott as well as Live Nation and concert organizer ScoreMore.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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