Does the AstroWorld Concert Bring in to Question How Large Scale Concerts Are Managed?


Key Points:

  • Event operators and venues need to double down on security.
  • Predictive analytic technologies may be key to preventing this from happening in the future.
  •  Tod Caflisch believes that this is a matter of controlling numbers more than anything else.


Large scale concerts are a major business with typically very refined processes, that include standard operating procedures in order to avoid any mishaps that can result in injuries. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Travis Scott’s AstroWorld concert this past weekend.

With an estimated 50,000 people in attendance, the event was declared a “mass casualty incident” by officials just after 9 p.m..The overcrowding and lack of control ultimately  resulted in 8 deaths and numerous injuries, raising serious questions regarding the future of large-scale events, the impact of being short-staffed on essential personnel, and what we can employ from both a technological and training perspective to prevent this from happening again.

Host, Katie Steinberg, sat down with stadium, expert Tod Caflisch with TechFoundry LLC to gain his thoughts on whether or not this tragedy occurred through poor execution of their standard operation procedures and carelessness, and how he believes this will impact the future of major events and concerts.

Abridged Thoughts:

Does this show that being short staffed on essential staff like security increases the risk of this type of tragedy occurring again? You know, I think it’s actually kind of a wake up call. You know, the whole short staffing thing is occurring all over, you know, business, all different industries. You know, I’m sure that, you know, sports, entertainment and venue operations have been affected as well. A lot of teams had to cut staff, you know, over the last, you know, 18 to 24 months because, you know, events were canceled or, you know, there were no fans allowed that type of thing. So, you know, it’s, you know, it is a problem. And you know, I think again, this is a wake up call that, you know, event operators and venues need to, you know, kind of double down on the security to make sure that things like this don’t happen again.

There are technologies that can aid in that as far as the analytics that can measure things like crowd density. You know, it can produce real time heat maps of, you know, where people are clustered, you know, and there may be technologies like that can be deployed that, you know, as certain thresholds are met through the analytics that you know, it alerts security or event or venue staff that an area needs to be cleared or thinned, you know, because, you know, to avoid issues like what happened last night or to happened last Friday, though, you know, those things can happen very rapidly. So, you know, trying to even build predictive analytics into that, you know, may be the key to preventing that in the future.

I think really it’s a matter of controlling numbers more than anything else and having adequate event staff there. As far as controlling the acts, that would be kind of a tough one because, you know, they’re there to put on a show and, you know, that’s their job. So, you know, this may change some of the rules around that. But I would say it, that one’s that one’s probably going to be the tougher one to accomplish versus just getting more into the preventative aspect of, you know, keeping things like the tragedy in Houston from happening again.

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