Eight people aged 14 to 27 were killed, and dozens were injured at the Astroworld Fest – Houston, TX – NRG Park on Friday night after a large crowd of fans began pushing toward the front of the stage during a performance by the hometown rapper Travis Scott. It appeared to be one of the deadliest crowd-control disasters at a concert in the United States in many years. Now prominent local official is asking for separate, independent reviews of the tragedy from experts in crowd safety.
Bart Whitaker Is highly recognized and recommended as A Success Strategist & Expert Witness Professional by some of America’s biggest events & venues, including major public venues, organizations, startups & reorganization/projects. For years Bart Whitaker’s “Expert Witness Expertise” has helped over 30 legal firms win lawsuits beginning with his first case with Johnny Cochran in 2000 through successful cases in 2021; he is still undefeated.
Whitaker is not a stranger in knowing what it takes to manage significant venues and events. Likewise, understanding what can go wrong. As an “Expert Witness” professional, his expertise has helped win several high-profile cases, including:
- Attorney Johnny Cochran hired him in 2000 as one of 4 expert witnesses in the successful lawsuit involving the Venue and Events Industry.
- Edward Jones Dome – Personal Injury/Standard Operating Procedures.
- NY Yankees – Personal Injury/Event Set-Up.
- Durham Bulls – Crowd Management SOP.
- Saturn/GM – Event Set-Up.
- Darlington Raceway – Event Set-Up.
- University Of South Carolina – Security/Crowd Management.
- San Diego Chargers – CA Fire Insurance Claim Dispute.
- Philadelphia Eagles– Business SOP’s.
- Omaha Royals/Rosenblatt Stadium– Facility Set-Up.
- Yigo, Guam, Amusement Park – Security/Felony Assault/Crowd Management.
- New Orleans Pelicans – Personal Injury.
- Ringling Brothers Circus – Performers Injuries/Equipment Rigging.
- Smoothie King Center – Construction/Engineer Complaint & NBA Game Incident.
Whitaker has received international acclaim for his ability to handle large projects as a Venue Manager for two renowned stadiums, the Superdome & The Georgia Dome. For Bart Whitaker, it all started 40 years ago this December at the Superdome, where he managed the Rolling Stones to a crowd of 87,500, still a world record for an indoor concert. That led to the first Final 4 ever held in a domed stadium, the NCAA Final 4, March 1982 at the Superdome. The success of that tourney led to the NCAA only hosting the March Madness in a domed stadium.
In 1986, Bart hosted the Super Bowl XX, featuring Jim McMahan and the Chicago Bears. This event was the first major event in the US to plan for possible Terrorism. President Ronald Reagan bombed Libya/Kadafi, and he threatened to retaliate. Whitaker led that first joint security meeting with over 15 security agencies in attendance.
Here is a list of some of those successful accomplishments as an expert in Venue Management, Event Management, Crowd Management, Startups/Re-Organizations.
- He coordinated the largest indoor concert ever held in the United States, at the Louisiana Superdome, during the 1981 Rolling Stones Concert, which attracted 87,500 people. In an article for Leisure Facility Magazine, Bart Whitakers described the planning and coordination of activities before and during the Rolling Stones Superdome performance.
- He coordinated facility operations for the 1982 NCAA Basketball Final Four held at The Superdome, including preparations for the four teams, NCAA, CBS TV, and over 500 media. The 62,000 people attending this event comprised a record crowd for a basketball game in the United States. First-ever Final 4 to be held in a Domed Stadium.
- He consulted with the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns (NFL) for their stadium startups.
- He successfully directed the fourth consecutive facility project from startup or reorganization through an efficient operational phase (Georgia Dome).
- He directed a dynamic facility-restructuring project at The Bayfront Center, which involved a transformation of City Management to Private Management and overseeing a $100 million renovation and development of the initial foundation and sponsorships for event series.
- He was contracted to create and manage an incentive travel event of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. This 3-million-dollar event consisted of 4 separate waves of 60 people. Charter flights, private hotels, ticket/event selection, Food and beverage/ meals, ground transportation, amenity packages, and trip coordination/direction were all part of this successful event. The productive partnership with the US Virgin Islands allowed us to be an Official Olympic Entity of the Olympic Games.
- As Event Producer and Director, he created and developed “Lefty’s” Golf Classic, a profitable celebrity golf tournament for Georgia State University Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Coach “Lefty” Driesell.
- He created and implemented a marketing strategy for Georgia State University Men’s Basketball Program. Since inception, season ticket sales increased 500%, efforts produced $300,000 worth of advertising and marketing coverage, and corporate sponsorships collected $300,000 (cash and value-in-kind).
- Bart directed the organization and logistics of Delta Air Lines Classic for Kids (basketball tournament held at the Georgia Dome); Also was named Executive Director for the event.
- He designed and fulfilled box holder sales and catering programs for the Atlanta Steeplechase. This is the first time that this private, not-for-profit organization has hired an outside marketing consultant to assist with their marketing and management.
- Whitaker directed all startup activities at the $400 million Georgia Dome, the world’s largest cable-supported dome stadium. Leading staff through the first season of events, which exceeded all expectations.
- Directed and supervised event operations for Super Bowl XX at The Louisiana Superdome and Super Bowl XXVII at the Georgia Dome.
- Designed stadium standard operating procedures for the New Orleans Breakers (USFL) administrative staff for their introductory season at the Superdome in 1984; conducted instructional meetings and acted as liaison between The Superdome’s and the Breaker’s staff.
- He directed management reorganization for Macon, Georgia’s Public Assembly. Venues, leading to the only two years of operating profits in its 20-year history. Developed RFP for the renovation of the 20-year-old Macon Coliseum, construction of the convention center, and complex renaming.
- He organized venue operations of the 48th-52nd editions of the Sugar Bowl.
- Directed internal operations for the New Orleans Saints home football games and the Atlanta Falcons home football games.
Along with handling Event Management/Marketing, Sales & Sponsorships for the Delta Air Lines Holiday Basketball Classic (GA/GA Tech); the Atlanta Steeplechase, The Norfolk State University Group Ticket Sales for Pace Motorsports/Supercross, Numerous Super Bowls. Sugar Bowl Parade and Gala, NCAA Final 4 Merchandising, The PGA Championships & The PGA Tour Championships including the “Lefty’s” Golf Classic. Official Beer Vendor for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. Numerous Atlanta Centennial Olympics Corporate Hospitality Programs, The 2000 Sydney Olympics for Boileau of America,