Houston City Council approves ordinance requiring permits for outdoor music events with 500 people or more

Houston City Council has approved stricter requirements for large outdoor music events on private property. The ordinance comes more than a year after 10 people were killed during the Astroworld festival at NRG.

The ordinance aims to improve safety regulations and hold organizers accountable if the event gets out of hand. 

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Organizers of outdoor music events with more than 500 people held on private property will now have to submit the details of their safety, security, staffing, traffic plans and emergency contact information to the city at least 60 days prior. The permit application will cost a fee and those who don't comply could be fined up to $2000. 

"This is the age of Instagram influencers. And they create events at the drop of a hat. So what we’re trying to do with this is to get in front of all these events and at least have the ability to look at it from a permitting standpoint," said Dave Martin, Houston Mayor Pro-Tem. 

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"We’re dealing now with private property owners. And I don’t want us to throw a broad net on how people should utilize their property unless it becomes a public safety issue," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. 

Council member Mike Knox proposed an amendment to apply the ordinance to all outdoor events, but later revoked it after failing to garner support. 

"Until something bad happens, we can't intervene. And I thought that was the purpose of this ordinance. We’re just focused on music because that seems to be the thing everybody’s focused on after the Astroworld event, but this also applies to other things," Knox said. 

"Things don’t end up wrong, they start off wrong. So, if you have the right protocols in place before the show even starts, then you have crowd maintenance. If you don’t, you have to go into crowd control, that’s a whole different set of problems," said Peter Remington.  

Peter Remington is a close family friend of Madison Dubiski, a 23-year-old who died after attending Astroworld. Remington also serves as the President of the Pink Bows Foundation, which was founded in Madison's honor.

"The overall mission of the Pink Bows Foundation is to heighten the awareness of security protocols or lack thereof in and around major events. It’s a pebble in the ocean as far as the ripple effect, but it is a start. And as long as it’s a start, we can build upon it. It’s fantastic," Remington said.   

The ordinance provides exemptions for religious institutions, schools and properties with an existing A-1 Certificate of Occupancy. Organizers who don’t comply could face up to a $2,000 fine.