TRAVIS SCOTT OFFERS TO PAY FUNERAL COSTS AFTER ASTROWORLD DEATHS
HOUSTON (AP) – Travis Scott has promised to cover the funeral costs of the eight who died during a crowd surge at his Astroworld Festival in Houston on Friday. Scott also is offering free online counseling for those affected by the incident. Promoter Live Nation will issue refunds to those who attended Astroworld. Live Nation is delaying ticket sales for a Billy Joel concert at a different Houston venue while the promoter helps with the investigation.
AUTHORITIES IDENTIFY EIGHT WHO DIED AT ASTROWORLD FESTIVAL
HOUSTON (AP) – The eight people who died at the Astroworld Festival in Houston on Friday included high schoolers, a computer science student and an aspiring Border Patrol agent. Harris County authorities released details on their identities but not how they died, which may take several weeks. The youngest was 14, while the oldest was 27. Thirteen people are still hospitalized but their conditions were not revealed. The deaths and injuries happened as the crowd rushed the stage Friday during Travis Scott’s set. More than 20 lawsuits had been filed by yesterday.
POLICE CHIEF AND TRAVIS SCOTT MET BEFORE ASTROWORLD FESTIVAL
HOUSTON (AP) – Houston Police Chief Troy Finner says he met with Travis Scott and his head of security before his performance at the Astroworld Festival on Friday to express concerns about safety. Finner did not go into specifics about what those concerns were, but he said he asked Scott to “be mindful of his team’s social media messaging on any unscheduled events.” Finner describes the meeting as “brief and respectful.” Scott’s representatives have not responded to requests for comment. The Houston Police Department is investigating the deaths of eight people who were injured in a crowd surge during Scott’s set.
ASTROWORLD SECURITY FIRM NOT COMMENTING ON PROCEDURES
HOUSTON (AP) – Representatives for the security firm that handled the Astroworld Festival in Houston have not publicly commented on the crowd surge that killed eight people when Travis Scott took the stage Friday. Harris County records indicate Contemporary Services of Los Angeles was responsible for security for the festival. The Associated Press has obtained the 56-page operations plan for security and emergency medical response protocols for potential incidents such as overdoses, evacuations or mass casualties. The plan instructs staff never to use the term “dead” or “deceased” over the radio, but to use the code word “Smurf.” It’s not clear whether the protocol was followed.
VAN MORRISON SUED FOR DEFAMATION BY IRISH OFFICIAL
LONDON (AP) – Northern Ireland’s health minister is suing Van Morrison for comments Morrison made about him regarding coronavirus restrictions. Robin Swann’s defamation lawsuit refers to three incidents in which Morrison called Swann “a fraud” and “very dangerous” for how Swann handled virus restrictions. Morrison’s lawyer, Joe Rice, says Morrison will argue that “the words used by him related to a matter of public interest and constituted fair comment.” Swann’s lawyer, Paul Tweed, says he anticipates a hearing early next year. Morrison has released several songs criticizing COVID-19 lockdowns and other measures to control the virus.
RICHARD CARPENTER PUTS OUT BOOK ON CARPENTERS’ MUSIC
LOS ANGELES (AP) – One of the things that appealed to Richard Carpenter about a book about The Carpenters was making it about the music itself. Carpenter has turned down many other projects after the death of his sister and collaborator, Karen, of complications from anorexia in 1983. Carpenter says there are lots of little details in the book “Carpenters: The Musical Legacy,” like the fliers from their concerts. While there are photos in the book, not many are ones that the world has not seen in one way or another. Carpenter says he’s used so many photos for boxed sets and other projects that he ran out of photos. “Carpenters: The Musical Legacy” is out now.
FOO FIGHTERS FILM “STUDIO 666”
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Foo Fighters will star in a film that frontman Dave Grohl describes as having the “classic magic” of his favorite rock-and-roll movies along with “hilarious gore.” The band will be featured in a film called “Studio 666,” shot at the same house where they recorded their “Medicine at Midnight” album. Grohl co-wrote the story, which is about the Foo Fighters recording an album at a house with a grisly past and Grohl dealing with supernatural forces. Whitney Cummings, Leslie Grossman, Will Forte, Jenna Ortega and Jeff Garlin also star. It will be released to theaters on Feb. 25.
YE’S YEEZY COMPANY SETTLES LAWSUIT
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Ye — as Kanye West has legally changed his name to — has settled a lawsuit over slow shipping from his clothing company. The district attorneys of Los Angeles, Sonoma, Napa and Alameda counties in California has alleged his Yeezy clothing company had engaged in false advertising about its shipping and violated state law by not sending online orders within 30 days. The settlement includes $800,000 in civil penalties to the district attorneys’ offices, $50,000 in restitution to a state consumer protection fund, and $100,000 in investigative costs. A representative for Yeezy could not be reached for comment.
HOUSTON TO LAUNCH INVESTIGATION INTO FESTIVAL IT HELPED ORGANIZE
HOUSTON (AP) – The Houston police department and fire officials worked closely with organizers of the Astroworld Music Festival, including aiding with crowd control and security. And now that the has festival ended with the death of eight people in a massive crowd crush, the city will take the lead in an investigation. But some are concerned about that. One Houston official has called on an independent probe – to avoid an appearance of a conflict of interest. Other agencies that look into similar situations say it would be best to have a set of outside eyes involved. Meanwhile, Harris County – which owns the venue where the festival was held – is considering its own investigation.
TRAVIS SCOTT TO PAY FUNERAL COSTS, CANCEL UPCOMING SHOW
HOUSTON (AP) – Travis Scott says he will pay for the funerals for those who died in a crowd surge that turned his performance Friday into a mass casualty scene. Eight people died and hundreds were hurt when people pressed toward the stage at a music festival in Houston. Scott was to be at a music festival in Las Vegas this weekend – but he won’t now. A rep for the rapper says Scott will skip the Vegas event. Meanwhile concert promoter Live Nation says it will provide full refunds to all who attended. It also says it has turned over all the footage from its security cameras at the festival to authorities – as part of its cooperation with the investigation.
YEEZY TO PAY TO SETTLE LAWSUIT OVER SHIPPING
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Ye’s clothing label has cut a deal to settle a lawsuit filed by four California district attorneys. The D.A.s sued the rapper’s high-end clothing company Yeezy over claims that the firm was slow to send out gear to its customers. The suit claimed by failing to ship orders within 30 days, Yeezy engaged in false advertising – and broke state law. Last month, Kanye West got permission to change his name legally to Ye.
BIDEN WELCOMES NBA CHAMPS TO WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON (AP) – For the first time in five years, an NBA team has visited the White House after winning a championship. The Trump-era hiatus ended yesterday when Joe Biden welcomed the Milwaukee Bucks to the Executive Mansion. During the visit, Biden praised the team for their on-court achievements. But he also acknowledged their efforts on social issues. Bided noted the team’s efforts to promote vaccinations against the coronavirus. And he praised them for speaking out after last year’s police shooting of Jacob Blake sparked protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The team sat out Game 5 of a first-round playoff series to highlight racial injustices facing Black communities.