Chicago-based concert security company owner involved in Astroworld concert

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Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Astroworld investigation includes Chicago security company
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A Chicago concert security company, which was subcontracted to send personnel to Houston for the Astroworld Festival, is now part of the investigation into what went fatally wrong.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago company that's done security for such high-profile events as Lollapalooza and Pitchfork Music Festival is now in the spotlight for a link to the Astroworld festival.

Houston police continue to investigate the deadly crowd surge during Travis Scott's set at Astroworld Music Festival. Eight people died and dozens more were injured.

READ MORE | Why did the show go on? Astroworld timeline looks at when officials knew something was wrong

Hector Garcia's company Valle Services has done security for hundreds of big shows over the last 40 years, including Lollapalooza, which draws about 100,000 fans to Grant Park each day, and Pitchfork Music Festival on the Near West Side.

"Our prayers are going to them and it's very difficult time for them," he said.

His company also was subcontracted to provide security officers for the Astroworld show. They were deployed by another security firm, but because it's still under investigation, Garcia is unable to talk specifically about it.

"Something went very wrong and it didn't need to happen," said Jerry Mickelson of Jam Productions.

RELATED: Naperville best friends among 8 killed at Travis Scott's Astroworld music festival set; vigils planned

Jam Productions, based in Chicago, is one of the biggest independent live music producers in the country. Mickelson had no involvement with the Astroworld show but called what happened a senseless tragedy.

"Safety of fans is number one," he said. "It seems like not all the boxes were checked to ensure the safety of the fans."

RELATED | Astroworld victims: What we know about 8 killed during Travis Scott concert

Six years ago, Lollapalooza shut down Travis Scott's set after five minutes and filed charges against him after he encouraged fans to get on stage.

There were an estimated 50,000 fans at the Astroworld show, and concert producers had an elaborate 56-page plan for crowd control.

"We get a deployment map from the promoter," Garcia explained. "Our main goal is to have a safe event."

Several lawsuits have already been filed against Live Nation, who produced the concert, and Scott himself, as well as several others involved. For his part, Scott has offered to refund the tickets and pay for the funerals of those who died.