Judge Clears Drake in Astroworld Lawsuit Dismissal

Drake discusses unawareness of Astroworld crisis in deposition

by Zain ul Abedin
Judge Clears Drake in Astroworld Lawsuit Dismissal
© Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

In a recent ruling, hip-hop sensation Drake was officially cleared from all allegations tied to the tragic 2021 Astroworld festival in Houston, where a devastating crowd surge led to the deaths of ten attendees. The incident occurred during a performance by Drake as a special guest alongside Travis Scott, who headlined the unfortunate event.

On November 5, 2021, as the festival reached its climax, attendees faced severe overcrowding, rendering them unable to move or breathe properly. Efforts by authorities and organizers to control the situation were underway as the catastrophe unfolded.

In the aftermath, numerous lawsuits were filed against Drake and Scott, as well as against Live Nation, the event promoter, and several other parties involved. These lawsuits were brought forward by the bereaved families and hundreds of injured concertgoers, demanding accountability for the horrific event.

During a pivotal hearing on April 1, presided over by State District Judge Kristen Hawkins in Houston, legal representatives for Drake, born Aubrey Drake Graham, argued that the artist had no direct role in the event's organization and, therefore, should not be held liable for the ensuing chaos and casualties.

Drake's Courtroom Revelation

Drake himself, in a deposition taken in Toronto last November, shared that before his stage appearance, he was uninformed of the dire conditions within the crowd, including reports of cardiac arrests and other critical injuries.

Describing his view from the stage, Drake recalled the audience as merely a blur, making it impossible to discern the distressing reality concertgoers face. Highlighting a poignant moment from his deposition, Drake was confronted with a video captured by the youngest victim, nine-year-old Ezra Blount, who tragically filmed the event while perched on his father’s shoulders.

When questioned about the visible panic in the eyes of the audience in the video, Drake acknowledged the fear and confusion apparent among the crowd. Further inquiry by Blount’s family attorney revealed Drake’s distress over the incident.

He expressed his desire for clarity and answers regarding the circumstances that led to such a tragedy. Judge Hawkins’s recent decisions have also led to the dismissal of seven other defendants previously implicated in the case while rejecting dismissal requests from ten entities, including tech giant Apple Inc., responsible for livestreaming the event, and two affiliates of Travis Scott.

Hawkins is scheduled to deliberate further motions, including one concerning Scott individually, in upcoming sessions. Despite the extensive investigations conducted by Houston Police following the incident, which culminated in a detailed 1,300-page report identifying numerous operational failures, a grand jury last June did not file criminal charges against Scott or five others.

As legal proceedings continue, the first trial concerning these numerous lawsuits is set for May 6. Meanwhile, some cases have reached settlements, including those by families of four victims, with the most recent settlement concerning 23-year-old Rodolfo “Rudy” Peña being finalized this February.