Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, which kicked off on Friday, November 5, 2021, turned bloody, leaving at least eight people dead and numerous others injured in what officials described as a surge of the crowd at the festival.
Astroworld is a two-day music festival that was scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday in Houston. The event was sold out, according to the Astroworld website and had an estimated 50,000 people in attendance.
According to Variety, 50,000 people attended the concert, which resulted in a surge during Scott’s performance at the festival outside NRG Park.
Variety reported that people started flocking to Scott’s stage, one of two on the stadium grounds, at least two hours before his performance was supposed to begin. As his performance began, a countdown clock started to tick down, causing the already raucous audience to push toward the stage.
When the concert started, many mosh pits erupted and people began to tumble, resulting in a “domino effect.” People started pushing their way out of the cramped section, but the whole stadium floor was packed. Furthermore, “about 250 individuals” had gathered just outside the door earlier in the evening, which might have led to congestion at the exits.
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena confirmed the chronology during a news conference after the performance. He said that at about 9 p.m., the crowd started to surge forward as a result of fear and individuals fleeing for safety during Scott’s act.
“The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries,” the fire chief said. “People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.”
The chief said Scott interrupted the show multiple times at that point to urge security to assist fans, and members of the fire department were sent into the packed crowd to rescue the wounded.
“Sores of individuals were injured. Officials transported 17 people to hospitals, including 11 who were in cardiac arrest. Many people were also treated at the scene at NRG Park, where a field hospital had been set up. About 300 people were examined at that site throughout the day” Pena said.
In a video posted to social media, Scott could be seen stopping the concert at one point and asking for aid for someone in the audience: “Security, somebody help real quick.”
Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite was near the front of the crowd and said it seemed the surge “happened all at once.” “Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode,” Satterwhite said. “And so we immediately started doing CPR and moving people right then, and that’s when I went and met with the promoters, and Live Nation and they agreed to end early in the interest of public safety.”
Peña said officials did not immediately know the causes of death for the eight people who died but a medical examiner would investigate. It wasn’t clear whether all eight who died were among the 17 that had been transported to hospitals.
Nonetheless, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner urged the public to stay calm as they investigate the true cause of the surge.
“I think it’s very important that none of us speculate. Nobody has all the answers tonight. We’re going to do an investigation and find out because it’s not fair to the producers, to anybody else involved, until we determine what happened, what caused the surge. We don’t know, but we will find out”, Finner said.
Video link: http://videos.marca.com/v/0_5qp2r34e