190114 Travis Scott.
Travis Scott Image Credit: Washington Post

The first lawsuits have been filed in the Astroworld music festival tragedy, including one that blames rappers Travis Scott and Drake as well as concert company Live Nation for the crowd surge that left eight people dead Friday and at least 25 injured.

A Texas attorney on Sunday filed that lawsuit, which also names NRG Stadium agent Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation, accusing the defendants of prioritising “profits over their attendees” during a concert in which concertgoers ages 14 to 27 were killed.

190116 Drake
Drake Image Credit: AP

“Live musical performances are meant to inspire catharsis, not tragedy,” read a statement from lawyer Thomas J. Henry, who is representing concertgoer Kristian Paredes of Austin. “Many of these concert-goers were looking forward to this event for months, and they deserved a safe environment in which to have fun and enjoy the evening. Instead, their night was one of fear, injury, and death.”

Representatives for Drake and Live Nation did not immediately respond Sunday to The Times’ requests for comment. Representatives for Scott and NRG Stadium declined to comment.

The identity of the plaintiff in that suit was revealed in court documents posted by the Daily Mail.

According to witness accounts, a number of festival attendees struggled to breathe as the crowd began to compress toward the stage during headliner Scott’s set. The hip-hop artist, as well as special guest Drake, continued to perform as an ambulance entered the crowd to help concertgoers in distress.

A press release attached to the Paredes lawsuit said: “By the time Live Nation finally decided to end the performance, 23 people required hospitalisation, 11 were in cardiac arrest, and more than 300 had to be treated at a ‘field hospital’ on site.”

During the concert, audience members repeatedly shouted, “Stop the show!” to no avail as people collapsed and got trampled on the festival floor.

“There is no excuse for the events that unfolded at NRG Stadium on Friday night,” Henry said. “There is every indication that the performers, organisers, and venue were not only aware of the hectic crowd but also that injuries and potential deaths may have occurred. Still, they ... allowed the deadly show to go on.”

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Astroworld performance of Travis Scott Image Credit: AP

In statements made since the concert, Scott said he is “devastated” by the deaths and pledged his support to Houston law enforcement investigating the incident.

“Any time I could make out anything that was going on, I’d stop the show and help them get the help they need,” said Scott, who did briefly pause his set at points to acknowledge the presence of emergency medics and instruct security to aid one person who passed out.

“I could never imagine the severity of the situation.”

In a second lawsuit, reported by Billboard, concertgoer Manuel Souza sued Scott as well as Live Nation and concert organiser ScoreMore.