Houston

Special events task force created by Houston and Harris County following Astroworld tragedy

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the task force was created to improve event protocols and permitting requirements in the city and county.

Festival goers are seen exiting NRG Park on day one of the Astroworld Music Festival on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Houston.

The City of Houston and Harris County have formed a joint task force to oversee the coordination of large-scale events in the Houston area.

During a Wednesday press conference, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the Special Events Task Force was created to improve event protocols and permitting requirements in the city and county “to ensure consistent operational standards for future events.”

"The line of demarcation between the city and county properties is invisible to the public,” Turner said. “Together, we can build upon our individual achievements by working more collaboratively through our governmental processes, permitting, coordination and communication.”

The 10-member task force is made up of five representatives from the city and five from the county, including Houston Police Chief Troy Finner, Director of Mayor's Office of Special Events Susan Christian, and Ryan Walsh, executive director of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corp.

The news comes after Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert left 25 hospitalized and 10 dead last November, leading to questions about security, safety, and the permitting process for large events in the Houston area.

One week after the incident, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the formation of the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety with the goal of enhancing security at future concerts across the state, the governor said.

Mayor Turner said an investigation into the Astroworld incident is currently ongoing, and added that the task force would focus on the betterment of future Houston-area events.

"Our decision to form the task force is about looking to the future and not back on any one incident," Turner said. “This (task force) will be looking futuristically on how we can better coordinate seamlessly between the city and the county.”

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