The attorney for Travis Scott shared new details about the flow of communication between Houston police, event security and Scott’s manager the night 10 people were crushed to death at the 2021 Astroworld Festival. According to information released by HPD, 33-minutes elapsed between the department initiating “stop-show” procedures and the end of the concert.
“I don’t think for a minute that the police thought this was as bad as it was,” said Scott’s attorney, Kent Schaffer.
Schaffer laid out a winding route of communication from when Houston police first alerted event staff the show needed to end until that message reached his client’s ears.
“Michael Brown, who was the head of Travis’s security, was approached by Seyth Boardman, who is the head of CSC, and he said, ‘we need to talk to Travis, tell him to shut the show down after Drake leaves the stage,’” Schaffer said. “So Brown and Boardman go and find Travis’s manager to see who can speak to Travis, and they discover that the only person who can actually talk to Travis while he’s on stage through Travis’s earpiece is a guy that runs an auto tune machine backstage. So Boardman and Brown go backstage. They find this guy and they tell him.”
Even then, Schaffer said Scott was only told that after Drake finished his set he needed to go out and close the show.
“Drake takes the stage, he performs for 10 to 15 minutes and as soon as he leaves the stage, Travis does the abbreviated version of his final song and tells everybody goodnight,” said Schaffer.
Schaffer said Scott was never told of the severity of the problems taking place in the crowd. Immediately following the deaths of ten people city and county officials vasicallted on the reason it took so long to end the concert. At first Finner said he was concerned about crowd control if the show was stopped abruptly.
“We have to worry about rioting, riots, when you have a group that’s that young,” Finner said in 2021.
Finner later placed the responsibility to stop the show on those involved in event production.
“The ultimate authority to end a show is with production and the entertainer,” Finner said in 2021.
After the grand jury’s decision to not indict anyone involved in the 2021 Astroworld Festival, Finner was asked again why the show wasn’t stopped sooner.
“The chief of police is not going to get up here and point fingers at anybody or say, I simply I respect the grand jury’s decision,” Finner said during a news conference.
Schaffer questions the confusion. Schaffer said during Scott’s 2019 festival HPD had no problem stopping the show when it was going past curfew.
“I mean, look, if the police want to close the show, the police closed the show, end of story. They did it in 2019 because Travis went over curfew by 2 minutes,” said Schaffer.
Houston police are releasing the entire 1,200 page offense report for the Astroworld Festival, which is the sum total of the information HPD investigators gathered over the last 19-months. However, it’s not clear exactly when the report will be released because police have to redact all personal information.
Since the 2021 festival, the city and county established new guidelines for overseeing large, outdoor events. The fire and police departments now have to approve all safety and security plans before an event can move forward. Police, fire, security and production staff now all have to be together in a unified command during an event so communication is instant and clear.