Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival resulted in nine deaths and hundreds of injuries.
Astroworld Festival is the annual music festival held in Houston, Texas run by Travis Scott. This year the event was scheduled for Nov. 5 and 6. However, after a crowd surge on the first night caused the deaths of nine attendees and the injuries of hundreds more, the second night of the festival was cancelled.
Before Scott even took the stage, the Houston Fire Department had begun documenting concerns about the event as early as 9:23 a.m. At that time, the department logged, “Participants have breached main gate and bypassed Covid testing checkpoint.” At 10:02 a.m. the department reported damaged fences and having “no control of participants.” Reports of bolt cutters being used to enter the venue came later in the day. At 4:54 p.m. the Houston Police Department assessed “dangerous crowd conditions.”
Chief Troy Finner of the police department met with Scott to communicate concerns about the conditions in the venue that afternoon and decided it was safe enough to proceed with the concert. “I had no reason to believe it wasn’t going to be safe,” Finner said.
Officials with the fire department stated that the location of the event, NRG Park, had a maximum capacity of more than 200,000 people, but the concert was limited to 50,000 guests. However, crowd estimates at around 9 p.m. reported 55,000 concert-goers with 3,000 to 5,000 of them having illegally breached the site.
Scott appeared on stage at 9:02 p.m. and within the first several minutes of the show, a massive crowd surge had compromised the main stage. Over the next 40 minutes, officials began receiving 911 calls and reports of trampled and unconscious concert-goers flooded in.
At 9:38 p.m. Houston officials declared that a mass casualty incident had occurred and event personnel were told to shut down the event. “The ultimate authority to end the show is with production and the entertainer,” Finner said in a news conference on Wednesday.
The concert continued for more than 30 minutes until it was officially stopped at 10:10 p.m. Scott’s team stated that he did not know what was happening and was not informed of the tragedy until after the concert ended. “It was hours and hours after the concert when they actually found out about the tragedy and how it unfolded,” said Scott’s spokesperson, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Multiple people attempted to get the attention of Scott and his production crew in order to stop the concert. Ayden Cruz, who attended the event with one of the victims, climbed a ladder to reach a platform where a cameraman was filming to plead for him to stop the show. A woman joined Cruz in yelling at the cameraman, but he waved them off and ignored their pleas. Scott seemed to notice something was happening 22 minutes into his performance as he said, “Make sure he good. Walk with him. Take him.” Six minutes later as a golf cart with flashing blue and red lights struggled to drive through the mass of fans, Scott said, “There’s an ambulance in the crowd,” and paused for about a minute before continuing the show.
Eight people were confirmed dead on the night of Nov. 5. A ninth victim died on Nov. 10 after previously being declared brain-dead due to injuries sustained during Scott’s event. The dead ranged in age from 14 to 27. There were 25 people hospitalized from the incident, the youngest patient being nine years old. The family of the nine year old boy disclosed that he has been put in a medically induced coma after injuries sustained to his heart, lungs and brain.
Authorities have opened a criminal investigation but have not assigned any fault as of yet. “This is a very, very active investigation, and we will probably be at it for quite some time to determine what exactly happened,” Houston mayor Sylvester Turner said at a press briefing Nov. 6.