(CelebrityAccess) — Following the tragedy at last year’s Astroworld Festival, a state task force on Tuesday revealed recommended changes to the rules governing mass gatherings in the state.
The Texas Task Force on Concert Safety, created by Governor Greg Abbott, examined the event process in the state, identifying several potential safety issues in the current process and identifying possible improvements.
Among the task force’s recommendations were a proposal that Texas create a consistent, statewide permitting process to eliminate loopholes and create a permitting system that puts safety at the forefront.
According to the task force, event permits in Texas are currently issued by counties, but noted that the process often creates confusion about which public safety organizations have jurisdiction over an event.
The task force pointed to Astroworld, where the Harris County officials oversaw permitting but emergency services from the City of Houston were responsible for responding to event incidents.
Additionally, the task force revealed that there was no Occupancy Load issued for the event, which may have been averted by a consistent permitting process.
The task force also recommended the creation of a unified command and control structure for use at festivals, including a clearly delineated chain of command, and a designated representative from the production team with “show stop” authority, to remain on site throughout the event.
Other recommendations from the task force include an expanded focus on including risk assessment as a part of the event planning process, including the use of crowd control throughout the festival, perimeter security, and prepared material on other foreseeable hazards.
A Concert Attendee Code of Conduct should be part of the ticketing process and make clear what behaviors will lead to ejection. Messaging of these rules and encouraging sound bites to look out for one another will increase a culture of crowd safety.
Along with their recommendations, the task force also assembled a large collection of event resources, including an event production guide, which is available here: https://gov.texas.gov/music/page/resources
“Live music is a source of joy, entertainment, and community for so many Texans—and the last thing concertgoers should have to worry about is their safety and security. To ensure that the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival never happens again, I am forming the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety. From crowd control strategies and security measures to addressing controlled substances, this task force will develop meaningful solutions that will keep Texans safe while maximizing the joy of live music events,” Governor Abbott said when empaneling the task force in November.