U.S. Rep Bill Pascrell (D-9) is offering his condolences for the eight people who were killed at the out of control Astroworld festival in Houston over the weekend, calling on event promoter Live Nation Entertainment to be broken up.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“I am shocked and devastated by the death and injuries at Astroworld and I feel for the victims and their families. The scale of destruction is unfathomable and organizers have a lot of questions to answer about why they were ill prepared for what happened,” Pascrell said in a statement.
“Reports suggesting festival organizers seeking to prevent deadly incidents at future live events are afraid to speak freely because they’re intimidated by Live Nation’s marketplace dominance are outrageous. For over a decade, Live Nation and its Ticketmaster partners have held absolute power over the live events market. The costs for fans, while largely financial, apparently may also include physical harm as well. Live Nation should be broken up so they might focus on people as much as they do profits.”
The event, organized by rapper Travis Scott, saw over people treated for injuries at a field hospital set up near the festival, after the crowd went “berserk” and people were trampled as Scott began performing, CNN reported.
In April 2020, Pascrell and U.S. Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) blistered Live Nation for refusing to provide full refunds to customers for events cancelled by the pandemic. Following the members’ letter, Live Nation issued many refunds.
Furthermore, the veteran congressman has been a leader in Congress calling for regulation of the opaque live events ticket market.
Pascrell was an early critic of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, and repeatedly urged the President Barack Obama (D) administration to reject it, warning that the union would crush competition and harm consumers.
In May 2018, Pascrell wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on his attempts to impose greater positive regulation on the broken live events ticket market.
Pascrell is the principal sponsor of the BOSS Act, overarching legislation that will impose a basic level of transparency upon the ticket industry so fans have a fair chance to purchase tickets on the primary market and also seeks to protect consumers who choose to use the secondary market to purchase tickets.
The legislation is currently being considered by the Energy and Commerce Committee.