☕️ Dramatic scenes

The festival industry reckons with the Astroworld tragedy
November 09, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

Morning Brew

Capital One

Good morning. Quick heads up that Spotify Wrapped day is around the corner, so start making that big Mozart push if you want to appear classy.

Jamie Wilde, Max Knoblauch, Neal Freyman

MARKETS

Nasdaq

15,982.36

S&P

4,701.70

Dow

36,432.22

10-Year

1.492%

Bitcoin

$67,459.53

AMD

$150.16

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 7:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Investors celebrated the House's passage of the infrastructure bill by sending the S&P to yet another record high. The S&P's streak of eight straight records is its longest since 1997. Over on the Nasdaq, chipmaker AMD was the No. 1 gainer after announcing it locked in Meta as a customer.
  • Crypto: Bitcoin and ethereum notched all-time highs as the total market cap for cryptocurrencies hit $3 trillion.

ENTERTAINMENT

A Reckoning for Music Festivals

Candles set out for Astroworld victims

Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

More than a dozen lawsuits were filed against event organizer Live Nation Entertainment and rapper Travis Scott yesterday, following a music festival that ended in tragedy on Sunday. Eight people between the ages of 14 and 27 died, and over 300 were treated for injuries, 13 of whom were still hospitalized as of yesterday.

What exactly happened is still being investigated by authorities, but fans report that a stampede crushed concertgoers toward the stage during Travis Scott's performance. Scrutiny of Live Nation has focused on two areas so far:

  1. The setup. Travis Scott was the only artist playing during his time slot, meaning about 50,000 festivalgoers converged toward one stage. No barricades or barriers were used to separate the crowd into sections.
  2. Security. Because of a shortage of workers, experts told the WSJ, security personnel weren't adequately trained to handle the crowd...which was so raucous that Houston Police Chief Troy Finner reportedly "conveyed concerns about the energy in the crowd" to Travis Scott before his show.

Live Nation has responded by offering to refund all attendees' tickets and opening a fund to pay for victims' medical fees, not long after Travis Scott announced that he'd cover therapy and funeral costs.

This is not Live Nation's first tragedy

The concert promoter—which is the world's largest, owns Ticketmaster, and puts on major events like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza—has been connected to about 200 deaths and 750+ injuries since 2006, according to the Houston Chronicle. It's also been cited for numerous safety violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which regulates workplace safety in the US.

Other events produced by Live Nation include:

  • The Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest festival where 58 people died in a mass shooting in 2017.
  • Ariana Grande's Manchester, England, concert during which a suicide bomber killed 22.
  • The first Astroworld festival in 2019, which was held at the same venue as this year's. Three people were injured in a stampede.

Looking ahead...it could take weeks for medical examiners to release the results of their investigation. As for Travis Scott, he canceled his show this weekend at the Day N Vegas festival, where he once again would have been the only headliner playing during his time slot.—JW

        

TRAVEL

Wholesome Moments as the US Reopened for International Travel

The US reopened its borders to vaccinated international travelers from more than 30 countries yesterday. Here are some snapshots from the emotional day.

Flights leave Heathrow to head to JFK

British Airways

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic staged the first-ever commercial parallel takeoff on their way from London to New York.

Aerial view of cars lining up to cross to the United States at the San Ysidro crossing port on the Mexico-United States border

GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP via Getty Images

Cars line up to cross the Mexico-US border.

Yerin Hong gets a hug from her boyfriend Soomin Kim after she arrived on a flight from Germany

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Yerin Hong hugs her boyfriend Soomin Kim after arriving in Chicago from Germany.

A couple embrace at Chicago's airport

OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Can't get enough of the hugging. Anyone have a tissue?

        

TECH

You Love to See a Nice Round Number

The Google logo with 9 zereos, to look like a figure in the trillions

Francis Scialabba

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, surpassed $2 trillion in market capitalization on Monday. Just in case someone wants to get a card going around that we can all sign.

This makes Alphabet the third US company to be inducted into the two-followed-by-12-zeros club, joining Apple and Microsoft. Its value doubled during the pandemic, when much of life migrated online.

And while the pandemic was kind to many tech giants, it loved Alphabet the most:

  • Its stock surge of 70% this year is No. 1 among the five biggest US tech stocks by revenue.
  • YouTube brought in $7.2 billion in ad revenue in the third quarter, up 43% from the previous year and more than Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn combined.

Some of us are old enough to remember when Alphabet (then still Google) was just a little guy, worth $23 billion when the company went public in 2004. 17 years later, analysts think Alphabet is poised to grow even more as digital ad sales boom and it expands its cloud unit.

Just how much is two trillion? A lot. Google it.—MK

        

TOGETHER WITH CAPITAL ONE

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Capital One's Venture X card even gives you 10,000 bonus miles on every anniversary. If you apply now, you can earn 100,000 extra miles (that's $1,000 toward travel) after you spend $10,000 in the first six months. 

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GRAB BAG

Key Performance Indicators

Stat: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who recently made controversial comments about Covid vaccines, all but disappeared from State Farm ads last weekend. About 1.5% of the ~400 State Farm ads aired on TV during Sunday's NFL games featured Rodgers, compared to more than 20% on the previous two Sundays, according to Apex Marketing Group. State Farm announced Monday that it stood by Rodgers.

Quote: "A new university dedicated to the pursuit of truth."

Former NYT columnist Bari Weiss and several other public thinkers are launching the University of Austin, a new institution aimed to challenge what they consider a "broken" higher education system. The board of advisors include former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, former ACLU President Nadine Strossen, and historian Niall Ferguson.

Read: How the maestro got his hands back. (GQ)

        

SPACE

Full Hearts, No Toilet, Can't Lose

A gif of an astronaut explaining the waste system on the International Space Station

Giphy

Four astronauts aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour safely splashed down near Florida last night, after spending nearly 200 days in space on the International Space Station (ISS). Known as Crew-2, this was the second of six NASA-SpaceX joint missions.

First stop? Begging a Starbucks employee for the restroom code. Due to an issue with the onboard waste management system, the astronauts spent more than eight hours without a toilet on their return journey. So, basically a day in NYC with less honking and more G-force.

  • Similar toilet-on-the-fritz issues happened with a SpaceX all-civilian flight in September and Crew-2's capsule back in April. Astronauts are all about finding creative solutions to complex problems, but for the commode breakdown, they're going old school: diapers.

It wasn't all toilet stuff though: While aboard the ISS, Crew-2 upgraded the station's power grid by performing a series of spacewalks to install solar panels. They also grew the first green chili peppers in space and hosted the first-ever movie crew in space (for the Russian film, The Challenge).

Crew-3 is scheduled to be sent into orbit on November 10, docking with the ISS on the evening of the 11th.—MK

        

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Ford stock closed above $20 for the first time in 20 years.
  • Randal Quarles, the Fed's vice chair for bank supervision, will step down near the end of the year, giving President Biden another open position to fill on the central bank's board.
  • Robinhood said the personal info of more than 7 million accounts was accessed during a data breach, but numbers affiliated with Social Security, bank accounts, and debit cards weren't exposed.
  • Roblox shares popped nearly 30% after hours thanks to a delicious earings report. The gaming platform managed to maintain its popularity even as the world reopened (cough, Peloton).
  • 13 Marvel movies will be able to be streamed on Disney+ in a format called "Imax Enhanced," which shows 26% more of the film on screens.

TOGETHER WITH BOMBAS

Bombas

Peepsies these holiday feetsies. This holiday season, make sure your feet are dressed to the holly jolly nines with the Bombas Holiday Collection. They're just as fun and festive as they are soft and comfy. Plus, for every Bombas item you purchase, they'll donate an item to those experiencing homelessness. Check out the collection today

BREW'S BETS

Tech Tip Tuesday: How to print a document when you don't have a printer.

New party game: It's called "Paperback." Def playing it this weekend.

It didn't just show up one day: Read the untold story of sushi in America.

GAMES

The Puzzle Section

Brew Mini: All you need to know about today's Mini puzzle is that its title is Meme Coin. Play it here.

This Day in History

On this day in 1906, Theodore Roosevelt became the first sitting president to travel abroad while in office, and he visited a specific country for a specific reason. Which country was it?

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ANSWER

Panama to inspect the construction of the Panama Canal

HOW WAS TODAY'S NEWSLETTER?

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Written by Neal Freyman, Max Knoblauch, and Jamie Wilde

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