“Scott’s dual role as performer and host of the festival must be considered as well. “As a general proposition, it is fair to say that when an artist is curating or branding a festival, it may open them to additional liability,” said Tim Epstein, an attorney who has acted as general counsel for dozens of major festivals, including Pitchfork Music Festival.
Tim Epstein diverges sharply from Mongeluzzi on the issue. “Millions of shows have taken place that have open seating and general admission, without incident,” he said. “We are not going to have a situation where we’re banning that. I think that would be a mistake.”
The conflict of opinion on this issue between Epstein, who represents festivals, and Mongeluzzi, who represents personal injury victims, is in some ways not surprising. But it is also indicative of the larger unresolved question of whether the failures of Astroworld are particular to Astroworld or rather a broad referendum on festival culture.
“We cannot paint with a broad brush here,” says Epstein. Mongeluzzi disagrees: “The industry has probably dodged a bunch of bullets in the past and it didn’t this time. This should be a wake up call to the artists, the promoters, and the people who profit from putting these on.””