Drake releases first statement after deadly surge at Astroworld Festival

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed


Rapper Drake released a statement late Monday about the deadly crowd surge at Houston’s Astroworld Festival on Friday.

Drake, who performed with Travis Scott during his set, wrote on Instagram “I’ve spent the past few days trying to wrap my mind around this devastating tragedy. I hate resorting to this platform to express an emotion as delicate as grief but this is where I find myself,” Drake wrote on Monday night. “My heart is broken for the families and friends of those who lost their lives and for anyone who is suffering. I will continue to pray for all of them, and will be of service in any way I can. May God be with you all.”

He is one of the defendants listed in at least three lawsuits filed on behalf of people who say they were injured or killed during Scott’s performance. 

Dozens of other suits have been filed. In the lawsuits, victims’ families and festival survivors are saying Scott and event staff did not do enough to prevent or stop the chaos.

Axel Acosta was among one of eight concertgoers who were killed. The 21-year-old’s family is taking legal action. His father Edgar said that festival events need to change.

“Today it’s me. I lost my son. It could be you. Could be you,” said Acosta.

Scott has vowed to cover the funeral expenses of those who were killed in the crowd. 

Tony Buzbee is representing the Acosta family and at least 35 other families. Buzbee said that the festival was planned “incredibly poorly.”

“That no regard was given to the safety of these young people,” Buzbee said.

A 56-page safety plan, obtained by CBS affiliate KHOU, was filed by the concert promoters and refers to riots and “the ever-present threat of a mass casualty situation.” 

But at no point does the plan reference the threat of a crowd surge or how to manage a crush towards the stage.

Nationally recognized crowd safety expert Paul Wertheimer said that omission raises several questions. 

“If they didn’t address it, then they didn’t address the emergency response if something should go wrong,” Wertheimer said.

CBS News reached out to LiveNation, the company behind Astroworld, and other people listed in the festival safety plan but has not heard back. LiveNation has said that it is cooperating with local authorities. 

Houston’s Police Chief Troy Finner said he met with Scott before the show and warned of an already-rowdy crowd, but there are still questions as to how the concert was allowed to descend into madness after so many early warning signs.

Wertheimer said local authorities should have stopped the show within five minutes when a mass casualty incident was declared at Astroworld.

The FBI announced it is now providing “technical assistance” in this criminal investigation.