A Year After Astroworld, Houston Officials Issue New Permitting Procedures for Large Events

Houston Astroworld permitting procedures

Photo Credit: Alexander Londoño

One year after Astroworld, Houston officials issued new permitting procedures for large-scale events.

The City of Houston is fine-tuning its plans to deal with large-scale events following the Astroworld tragedy last year in which ten people lost their lives. On Wednesday, the city finalized the new ordinance with signatures from Susan Christian, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, Chief of Police Troy Finner, Chief of Fire Sam Peña, and a vote from the City Council.

The ordinance primarily applies to outdoor music events on private property with more than 500 people in attendance. It follows a Public Safety and Homeland Security committee meeting on October 13.

Each application for an event needs to include an “Event Security Plan and Event Medical Plan,” among other pertinent information before it can take place. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis regarding how many exits are needed to ensure safety and if a Unified Command Center will be put in place.

Applications must include the event organizer’s name, street address, mailing address, email, and phone number, the organizer’s associates, and the employees assisting in the event. Additionally, applications must contain the registered agent of the organizer, venue operator, property owner, dates and times of the event, the maximum number of tickets to be sold, and the maximum number of people at the event.

The Mayor’s Office of Special Events will review all applications and retain the right to deny the application if it does not meet the requirements set forth by the city and county. Chiefs or representatives from the Houston Fire Department and Houston Police Department may also reject presented plans. Organizers may file an appeal within ten business days of a denial.

A fee may be associated with an event if the application comes within 30 days of the event. If an event occurs without prior approval, is suspended or revoked, or violates permit provisions, the organizer may face a misdemeanor charge and fine of up to $2,000.

The new procedures come one year after ten people lost their lives and many more were injured during a crowd crush event at the Astroworld Festival in November 2021.