Questions over Astroworld permitting continue following Gov. Abbott’s Task Force on Concert Safety report

‘The fact is NRG is a county property and they manage what goes on in that property’: HFD Chief

Who had oversight over the music festival

HOUSTON – Days after the governor’s Task Force on Concert Safety released its report following the tragedy at the Travis Scott concert on the opening night of Astroworld, questions are being asked about the permitting process. KPRC 2 Investigates attempted to connect with multiple attorneys, officials, and management at NRG Park on Monday to discuss the specifics of permitting, however, only one official who was involved with the tragedy agreed to go on camera for an interview.

“The city of Houston has limited jurisdiction at NRG. The fact is NRG is a county property and they manage what goes on in that property,” said HPD Chief Sam Pena.

Management at NRG Park is not talking.

“Out of respect for pending litigation and ongoing investigations, we are unable to comment at this time,” said a marketing and public relations director via email to KPRC 2 Investigates.

Pena made one point very clear throughout the interview.

“A special event permit for NRG, that’s not us,” he said.

The task force, in its report, stated that Harris County had jurisdiction over the permitting requirements. However, Harris County in a statement said the Astroworld Festival “occurred within the city of Houston” and the county “lacked any jurisdiction for permitting,” while pointing to a 2018 agreement between the county and the city to work events at NRG, and Astroworld applies to this case.

“The MOU established between the Harris County Fire Marshall and the City of Houston Fire Department is limited to the inspection of the building and the maintenance inspections of those buildings after the construction is done,” said Pena.

How is KPRC 2 Legal Analyst viewing the positioning of those involved?

“It’s a question of whether or not there needed to be a permit. If the city says it was the county and the county says it was the city, nobody talks and everyone walks and Live Nation winds up saying, ‘thanks for being on the show,’” said Wice.

KPRC 2 Political Analyst Ed Emmett says one key question has not been answered yet.

“What were the contractual agreements between Live Nation and the folks at NRG Park? And who was responsible for enforcing those rules,” said Emmett.

The Houston Police Department says its investigation remains ongoing.

As for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Dane Schiller, spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, responded with an email stating:

“Police agencies investigate potential crimes and gather evidence. We are currently awaiting the results of the Houston Police Department’s work on the Astroworld tragedy. They will consult with our prosecutors who will then thoroughly review that evidence and apply the law as part of a process to determine whether probable cause exists to charge a crime.”

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