Pink Bows Foundation, created in honor of Astroworld Festival victim, aims to improve safety at events

The family of Madison Dubiski, the 23-year-old Houston resident who died Nov. 5, 2021, at the Astroworld Festival, created a foundation that is promoting improved safety protocols at concerts.

Madison Dubiski
Pink Bows Foundation
Madison Dubiski, of Houston, was one of the 10 people who died at the Astroworld Festival on Nov. 5, 2021.

It has been a year since Madison Dubiski and nine others – ranging in age from 9 to 27 – lost their lives while attending a music festival on the grounds of Astroworld. They were trampled and crushed by an out-of-control crowd as Houston-area native Travis Scott, the event headliner, performed on an outdoor stage on the night of Nov. 5, 2021.

The family of Dubiski, a 23-year-old Houston resident who exhibited a charitable heart, wants to ensure nothing like that happens again in their hometown or anywhere else.

On May 1 of this year, which would have been Dubiski's 24th birthday, her parents, Brian and Michelle, created the Pink Bows Foundation in her honor. Its mission, according to family friend and organization president Peter Remington, is to improve safety and security protocols at concerts and other events while providing refuge for attendees.

"It's obviously a tough time for the family," Remington said Thursday. "They're channeling their energy into making sure that this doesn't happen to any other parents."

Relatives of most of the people who died at the Astroworld Festival, including Madison Dubiski's parents, filed wrongful death lawsuits against Scott and event organizers and promoters, including Live Nation Entertainment. At least two of those cases, involving 16-year-old victim Brianna Rodriguez of Houston and 21-year-old Axel Acosta of Washington state, have been settled out of court for undisclosed amounts of money.

The family of another one of the victims from Houston, 14-year-old Memorial High School student John Hilgert, also is honoring his memory by giving back to the community. The John Hilgert Memorial Fund was created by his parents, Chris and Nichole, according to Spring Branch Education Foundation executive director CeCe Thompson, who said her organization manages the fund along with the John Hilgert Scholarship Fund, which was created by community members and will benefit Memorial High School students.

The memorial fund will be used to assist Spring Branch families in need during times of disaster or crisis, according to Thompson.

"Any type of tragedy that's affected a family in Spring Branch, (Hilgert's) family would like the fund to be used to help those types of families," she said.

The Pink Bows Foundation aims to honor the memories of all the Astroworld victims as well as those who survived the tragedy, according to Remington, who added, "There's a ton of people walking around here that are traumatized."

Remington said the foundation has raised in the "high five figures" since its inception and already has expanded with a few local chapters in other parts of Texas, enlisting about 160 volunteers in total. Dubiski's brother, Ty Dubiski, who was with her at the Astroworld Festival, also has expanded the effort to the University of Arkansas, where he is student, according to Remington.

Pink Bows Foundation Tent
Pink Bows Foundation
This artist’s rendering shows a safe space tent designed by the Pink Bows Foundation, which aims to improve safety and security at concerts and other events.

The foundation has designed prototypes for safety tents in three different sizes, which will be donated to events, according to Remington. The purpose of the tents, he said, is to provide a safe space for attendees who might be distressed and need to take a break or calm down or talk to someone about what they're experiencing.

Remington said the Pink Bows Foundation also is researching safety protocols in the entertainment and special events industries with the goal of working with organizers and promoters to amend and improve those procedures. The vision, he said, is to incorporate a third party with no financial interest that can ensure protocols are followed while also having the authority to stop an event if dangers arise.

"Once the concert starts, if they see something going wrong, they will have the ability to throw up a red flag and either fix the problem right away or have the ability to flip a switch, turn on the lights and postpone an event," Remington said. "We'd love to have it be a law."

The Pink Bows Foundation also aspires to provide scholarship money for college students pursuing risk management degrees along with supporting children with cancer, those with special needs and youth cheer and dance programs, according to its website. Remington said all those causes were important to Madison Dubiski, who was a cheerleader at Cy-Fair High School and logged about 500 volunteer hours during her time as a student there, mostly working with children's charities.

The foundation will be the beneficiary of two upcoming events – a special sale from noon-3 p.m. Sunday at the Kendra Scott store in Highland Village, where 20 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the foundation; and "Fashion for a Cause" from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Christian Louboutin Boutique at Saks Fifth Avenue in The Galleria, where 10 percent of sales will go to the foundation.

Also to mark one year since the tragedy, Remington said pink bows have been hung around trees both in Downtown Houston and the Cypress area.

"We're asking all of Houston to put pink bows out in their front yards or on their doors or on a tree, to honor not just Madison and the other people who lost their lives," Remington said. "The Pink Bows Foundation is all about honoring the surviving victims, too."

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