Rolling Stone reports that in the wake of the Astroworld Festival tragedy earlier this year, concert promoter Live Nation strong-armed Astroworld’s staff into signing liability waivers or risk not getting paid. According to an email acquired by Rolling Stone, just hours after 9-year-old Ezra Blount, the youngest of the festival’s 10 victims, was reported dead from injuries sustained in the crowd crush during Travis Scott’s headlining set, Live Nation had sent part-time employees a revised employment contract promising not to sue Live Nation or its Scoremore subsidiary. However, two security guards have already done so, suggesting that not everyone signed the documents.
The original contract was the same one from the 2018 festival, even still bearing the year of the fest’s inauguration at the top. However, the new ones sent on November 15 amended the error, claiming that the employees would need it to receive their $7.50/hour paychecks for tasks like checking wristbands. The new contracts’ text was duplicated in Rolling Stone:
(Employee) assumes full responsibility for any injuries or damages that may occur to the (employee) in, on or about the festival and its premises and fully and forever releases and discharges the released parties from any and all claims, demands, damages, rights of action or causes of action resulting from or arising out of the (employee’s) attending and or providing services at the festival.
The amended contracts also denied employees medical coverage or other benefits, including workers’ compensation. According to the employee who brought the email to Rolling Stone‘s attention, “It was a free for all. I saw a girl trying to run through. She got crushed. I saw kids getting knocked out. It definitely felt like there wasn’t nearly enough security to contain the rush of the fans.” There’s also a pretty harrowing firsthand account of the chaos during Travis’ closing set that frankly, sounds terrifying.
Both Live Nation and Travis Scott have denied liability in the dozens of lawsuits filed by survivors and victims’ families, despite reports that Travis had continued performing long after the concert was declared a mass casualty event.
You can read Rolling Stone’s full report here.