HOUSTON’S POLICE CHIEF SAYS SECURITY STAFFING UNCLEAR AT ASTROWORLD FESTIVAL
HOUSTON (AP) – Houston Police Chief Troy Finner says the organizers of the Astroworld Festival have not given investigators “good records” about the number of private security personnel on duty Friday, when a crowd surge during Travis Scott’s set led to eight deaths. Finner says about 530 Houston police officers worked the festival, more than twice as many as worked it in 2019. Finner defended meeting with Scott, saying he meets with people whenever he can. He says he has only ever spoken to Scott twice. Finner rejected calls for an outside investigation into the concert. Finner also says a security guard who was believed to have been injected with a needle during the show actually had been struck in the head.
TWO PEOPLE IN CRITICAL CONDITION FOLLOWING ASTROWORLD FESTIVAL SURGE
HOUSTON (AP) – At least two people who attended the Astroworld Festival in Houston on Friday are still in critical condition from injuries suffered when the crowd surged while Travis Scott was performing. Officials are not giving details, but the family of a 9-year-old boy has said the boy is in a medically induced coma after suffering injuries to his heart, lungs and brain at the concert. Eight people between the ages of 14 and 17 have died.
POLICE, ATTORNEYS DIFFER ON WHO COULD HAVE STOPPED ASTROWORLD FESTIVAL
HOUSTON (AP) – Who could have made the call to stop Travis Scott’s performance when the crowd surge turned deadly at the Astroworld Festival in Houston on Friday? Houston Police Chief Troy Finner says police told concert organizers to shut down the concert when fans in the crowd needed CPR. However, he did not provide details on when that order came down. Finner says police did not have the authority to stop the show. Scott performed for roughly an hour. Video shows Scott at one point asking security to help someone. Scott’s attorneys say the operational plan for the event states only the festival director and executive producers can stop the show, “neither of which is part of Travis’ crew.”
DRAKE OFFERS CONDOLENCES AFTER APPEARING AT ASTROWORLD
HOUSTON (AP) – Drake says he has been spending the past few days trying to wrap his mind around the “devastating tragedy” at the Astroworld Festival in Houston on Friday. Eight people died in a massive crowd surge during Travis Scott’s performance. Drake made an appearance on stage during Scott’s set. Drake writes on Instagram his “heart is broken for the families and friends of those who lost their lives and for anyone who is suffering.” Drake has been named in some of the lawsuits filed in connection with the festival.
LUKE COMBS, CHRIS STAPLETON ARE BIG WINNERS AT CMAS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Luke Combs says he does not prepare speeches for awards shows, and he admitted that did not serve him well when he was named entertainer of the year last night at the Country Music Association Awards. Chris Stapleton won so many times — six trophies in all, including two for producing — that he said he was running out of words. The speech of the night, though, may have been Carly Pearce, winning for female vocalist. She not only was barely able to choke out her words, but at one point, Ashley McBryde came up to explain what Pearce was saying. TJ Osborne of Brothers Osborne says even though they’ve won the vocal duo award before, it never ceases to be “extremely shocking” when they win. Old Dominion won the vocal group award. Jimmie Allen won new artist of the year.
CMA AWARDS: WINNERS LIST
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Here are the winners at last night’s Country Music Association Awards:
Entertainer of the Year: Luke Combs.
Album: “Starting Over,” Chris Stapleton.
Song: “Starting Over,” Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson.
Vocal duo: Brothers Osborne.
Female vocalist: Carly Pearce.
Male vocalist: Chris Stapleton.
Music video: “half of my hometown,” Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney).
Single: “Starting Over,” Chris Stapleton.
New artist: Jimmie Allen.
Vocal group: Old Dominion.
Musical event: “half of my hometown,” Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney).
Musician: Jenee Fleenor, fiddle
ELTON JOHN ACCEPTS AWARD AS HE RECOVERS FROM HIP SURGERY
LONDON (AP) – Elton John looked a little rickety while accepting an exclusive honor at Windsor Castle yesterday, but fear not. As he puts it, “I’m full of beans and I’m full of zest.” John walked with a cane because he had his right hip replaced recently. John was not about to skip out in accepting the Order of the Companions of Honour. It’s one of the highest awards that Queen Elizabeth can bestow. There can only be a maximum of 65 members. Other current members include environmentalist David Attenborough, author Margaret Atwood and athlete Sebastian Coe.
JURY REJECTS LAWSUIT AGAINST JAY-Z AND HIS COUNTERSUIT
NEW YORK (AP) – Both a fragrance company’s lawsuit against Jay-Z and his countersuit have been rejected. Parlux Fragrances had sued Jay-Z for breach of contract, saying he failed to fulfil his obligations to promote the “Gold Jay-Z” cologne brand. Jay-Z countersued, saying Parlux breached its contract by failing to pay him royalties. The case went to trial last month. Yesterday, a jury decided neither side had proven its claims and no damages were awarded. Jay-Z’s attorney says he’s “pleased.” Parlux representatives say the verdict was disappointing and it plans to pursue “all legal options.”
MAN ENTERS PLEA DEAL IN CONNECTION WITH MAC MILLER’S DEATH
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The accused supplier of the drugs that killed Mac Miller has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of distribution of fentanyl. The plea agreement says Ryan Michael Reavis knowingly supplied counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl to co-defendant Cameron James Pettit, who sold the pills to Miller in 2018. Miller suffered a fatal overdose two days later. The case against Pettit is pending. Prosecutors say another co-defendant, Stephen Andrew Walter, directed Reavis to supply the pills to Pettit. Walter is expected to enter a plea in the coming weeks.
ALEC BALDWIN, OTHERS SUED IN FATAL SHOOTING ON “RUST” SET
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The head of lighting on the film “Rust” has filed a lawsuit over Alec Baldwin’s fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the Western. The suit is filed by Serge Svetnoy, who says in his suit that he has suffered “severe emotional distress” that will haunt him forever. The lighting director says he was on the set when the shooting occurred. In the suit, he says he was standing near Hutchins and the bullet that killed his friend just missed him. Svetnoy says he held Hutchins’ head in his hands as she died. His attorney Gary A. Dordick says the lawsuit is aimed at Baldwin, who fired the fatal shot, and others involved in the movie. It’s the first known lawsuit of what could be many stemming from the Oct. 21 shooting.
HOUSTON POLICE SAY THEY NEED MORE INFO ABOUT CONCERT SECURITY
HOUSTON (AP) – Houston police say they need more information from organizers of the Astroworld music festival. The city’s police chief, Troy Finner, says producers haven’t given him clear records about the private security personnel working the event last Friday. Part of the crowd rushed the stage, causing a crush that killed at least eight people and injured hundreds. The surge happened as rapper Travis Scott was performing.
HOUSTON POLICE CHIEF SAYS DEPARTMENT CAN HANDLE ASTROWORLD PROBE
HOUSTON (AP) – Houston’s police chief says his department is well equipped to handle the criminal investigation into the Astroworld tragedy. Troy Finner is clapping back at claims that because the city helped with logistics for the event – and had its own officers working the festival, the probe might create a conflict of interest. Finner also says he didn’t have close ties to the headliner, Travis Scott. The chief says he did meet with the rapper before his show – but denies the two are close.
LAWSUIT PITTING JAY-Z AGAINST FRAGRANCE COMPANY LAWSUIT KICKED OUT
NEW YORK (AP) – A fragrance company’s lawsuit against rapper Jay-Z over breach of contract claims – and his subsequent countersuit against the company – have both been kicked out of court. A jury in New York has decided neither side in the legal battle had proven its claims – and awarded no damages for either side. Parlux Fragrances filed the suit in Manhattan in 2016, saying the rapper hadn’t fulfilled promotional obligations for the 2013 launch of the “Gold Jay-Z” cologne brand. The rapper countersuit claims Parlux failed to pay him royalties.