City of Houston finalizing its mass event planning after Astroworld Festival tragedy

More requirements for Houston outdoor music events

Astroworld: Countdown to tragedy

HOUSTON – The City of Houston is fine-tuning a plan to deal with mass events like concerts at venues within city limits.

KPRC 2 Investigates first told you about a deal between Harris County and the City of Houston to allow a representative from the Houston Fire Department or Houston Police Department to reject presented event plans for gatherings of more than 6,000 attendees.

The agreement came after 10 people lost their lives, and many more were injured during a crowd crush at the Astroworld Festival in November 2021.

Related: HFD’s Official Astroworld Concert Activity Log

The festival occurred at NRG Park. It is a venue with overlapping jurisdiction making it hard for families to determine who is accountable.

The KPRC 2 Investigates team spent months examining what went wrong and what needed fixing to prevent another mass causality incident from occurring in an hour-long documentary called ASTROWORLD: Countdown to Tragedy.

On Wednesday, with a stroke of a pen by the Mayor’s Office of Special Events Director Susan Christian, Chief of Police Troy Finner, Chief of Fire Sam Peña, and a potential vote from the City Council, the city will implement a new ordinance to strengthen its commitment to its citizens.

Related: KPRC 2 Investigates presents new documentary ‘Astroworld: Countdown to Tragedy’

Who is this intended for:

The ordinance generally deals with outdoor music events on private property with more than 500 people in attendance. It comes from a Public Safety and Homeland Security committee meeting on Oct. 13, 2022.

The Application

Each application needs to include the name, street address, mailing address, email, and phone number of the event organizer, the organizer’s associates, and employees assisting in the special event.

In addition, the application will have the registered agent of the organizer, venue operator, property owner, dates and times of the event, the maximum number of tickets to be sold, and the maximum number of people at the event.

The application will also need to include an “Event Security Plan and Event Medical Plan” before taking place.

Depending on the event will determine how many exits are needed and if a Unified Command Center will be put in place.

Permit Review

The Mayor’s Office of Special Events will review all applications for special events and have the right to deny the application if it does not meet the requirements set forth by the city or county.

A fee may be associated with an event if the application comes within 30 days of the event.

Chiefs or representatives from HFD or HPD can also reject presented plans.

An appeal may be heard if filed within 10 business days of a denial.

Fines

If an event occurs without approval, the special event is suspended or revoked, or violates permit provisions, the outdoor music event organizer may face a misdemeanor and fine of up to $2,000.

What’s Next

The ordinance will be heard by Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council members as early as 9 am on November 30th.

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