Following a thorough 19-month investigation, a grand jury in Harris County found insufficient evidence to press criminal charges against Travis Scott and other Astroworld Festival organizers on Thursday (June 29). The news arrives after the catastrophic crowd crush incident that left 10 dead and hundreds injured in 2021.
Announced by District Attorney Kim Ogg, the verdict brought a sense of relief to Scott’s team, with his attorney, Kent Schaffer, echoing a sentiment long maintained: “Travis Scott is not responsible for the Astroworld tragedy.” He reiterated that blame should be aimed at “organizers, operators, and contractors — not performers.” Schaffer emphasized that Scott, despite being the festival’s face, was oblivious to the horrific events unfolding.
Furthermore, the committee cleared Brent Silberstein, an experienced Houston concert promoter, John Junell of Live Nation, Shawna and Seyth Boardman from crowd management firm Contemporary Services Corporation, and Emily Ockenden, an employee of BWG operations company, from any criminal charges.
However, the grand jury’s decision does not impact the civil litigation currently in progress. More than 400 civil lawsuits have been lodged against Scott, Live Nation, and other organizers, accusing them of negligence in planning and conducting the event, including failing to provide sufficient security and emergency support. Billboard reported that the plaintiffs seek billions in damages as they believe the tragedy was preventable.
“As heartbreaking as the Astroworld incident was,” DA Ogg said at the press conference, “our job is narrow.” She stressed the grand jury’s role was solely to identify criminal liability, separate from civil court proceedings, which will aim to pinpoint if negligence led to the fatalities.
With the two sides embroiled in the painstaking discovery process, they exchange evidence, disposition key figures, and prepare for what could culminate in a hefty settlement or multiple trials.
While this is a major win for the rapper, it doesn’t provide a complete respite for Travis Scott and his team as they brace for the civil litigation storm ahead. In his closing remarks, Schaffer expressed hope for a future focus on preventing such tragedies rather than attributing blame: “Now that this chapter is closed, we hope for the government efforts to focus on what is most important — stopping future heartbreaking tragedies like Astroworld from ever occurring again.”