Astroworld Documentary Set for Release Despite Lawyers’ Concerns

A film that explores the tragic events of last year’s Astroworld Festival in Houston is slated to release Friday in Texas

A documentary that explores the tragic events of last year’s Astroworld Festival in Houston—where 10 people died and hundreds were injured during a massive crowd surge—is slated to be release in Texas on Friday.

The film, titled Concert Crush: The Travis Scott Festival Tragedy, will hit screens in 11 Texas cities including Austin, Dallas, and Houston despite concerns from lawyers for Live Nation, which is being sued for its role as the festival’s promoter, that publicity from the documentary could “taint the jury pool,” the Associated Press reports.

A gag order has been issued in the case, but Live Nation’s lawyers say an attorney who filed lawsuits related to the deadly festival also co-produced the documentary.

Charlie Minn, the film’s director, said he believes he has made a fair and balanced documentary that aims to show the public what happened at the November 5 concert.

“My job is to make the most truthful, honest, sincere documentary from the victims’ point of view … We need to know about these stories to prevent it from happening again,” Minn told AP.

Roughly 500 lawsuits have been filed following the 2021 Astroworld Festival, which was headlined by Scott, who is also being sued. The ten people killed at the event, including a 9-year-old boy, all died from compression asphyxia when a crowd surge occurred. The defendants are accused of “gross negligence” and “reckless disregard” for concertgoers’ safety.

Minns’ documentary features interviews with several people who survived the event, along with cellphone footage shot by concertgoers in which people can be heard repeatedly yelling for help.

“It’s hard to explain to friends and family what we saw and what we actually went through and I think [the documentary] will give a lot of people the opportunity, if you weren’t there, to understand,” Frank Alvarez, who attended the concert but does not appear in the film, told AP.

In a trailer for Crowd Crush, Ashley Chapa, who also attended the festival, said, “We’re speaking for the ones that aren’t able to speak anymore.”

Concert Crush also suggests Scott could have done more to prevent the conditions that led to the casualties, but Minn said it isn’t a “hit piece toward Travis Scott,” AP reports. He said the film also questions whether others involved in the disaster, including Live Nation and the Houston Police Department, could have done more to improve the safety or respond more quickly to the danger. The director said Scott, Live Nation, and Houston Police—who are still investigating—declined to be interviewed for the film.

Attorneys for Live Nation expressed their concerns about the documentary in a letter to state District Judge Kristen Hawkins, who is handling pretrial matters in the lawsuits.

“The involvement of plaintiffs’ lawyers in the film, and the publicity the filmmakers and producers are trying to generate for it raise significant issues about efforts to taint the jury pool,” Neal Manne and Kevin Yankowsky, two of Live Nation’s attorneys, wrote in the letter, according to AP.

However, the attorneys have not asked Hawkins to take any specific action regarding the film.

It is unclear whether Scott has seen the film.

“Mr. Scott remains focused on his philanthropic work in his hometown of Houston and in lower-income communities of color across the country, both of which are longstanding efforts,” his attorneys said.

Cassandra Burke Robertson, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, told AP she would be surprised if the judge took any action against the documentary due to First Amendment concerns, despite the gag order.

“I think the public interest here in exploring what happened and avoiding similar tragedies in the future, that’s a really big interest,” Robertson said. “That is likely to outweigh the interests of the particular outcome of the particular lawsuit.”

News of the film’s release arrives just days after Spanish concert promoter Primavera Sound announced that Scott would be headlining three of their festivals, including Primavera Sound Sao Paolo on Nov. 6, Primavera Sound Buenos Aires on Nov. 12, and Primavera Sound Santiago de Chile on Nov. 13. The events will mark Scott’s first festival stage since the Astroworld tragedy.

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