On Friday, November 5, 2021, approximately 50,000 people attended a Travis Scott concert at the Astroworld music festival in Houston, Texas. During the show, 8 people were killed and hundreds more were injured when concertgoers surged toward the stage.
According to Houston fire chief Sam Peña:
“The crowd for whatever reason began to push and surge towards the front of the stage, which caused the people in the front to be compressed — they were unable to escape that situation.”
Have the Victims Been Identified?
Yes. The 8 victims of the Astroworld tragedy ranged in age from 14 to 27, 2 of them were students at local high schools, and many others were college students traveling to Houston for the show.
According to Vulture, people were also trampled and injured. In addition to the 8 people who were killed, 25 were hospitalized, and the youngest patient is 10 years old.
What Caused the Surge?
Although police are looking into these unsettling events, the cause of the surge has yet to be determined.
Why Couldn’t People Escape?
People at the Travis Scott concert could not get out of the crowd when the surge began. Some concert goers told the Associated Press that barricades near the stage prevented them from escaping, and created a “closet like zone” where people were trapped and compacted.
Authorities have claimed that the venue met safety requirements – and that people were able to clear in within an hour of the event ending. Investigators are still trying to determine what, exactly, went wrong and likely will be for some time.
Could the Tragedy Have Been Prevented?
Before Scott started performing, video footage shows several concert goers screaming to “stop the show.” During his performance, Scott even stopped and directed security to help someone who had fallen unconscious. One attendee said Scott stopped the show 3 or 4 times when he noticed people in distress.
The timeline for when people started getting hurt and how soon the concert stopped afterward is unclear. Officially, the Police Department and Fire officials say the crowd initiated a “mass-casualty incident” around 9:30 p.m., and the concert was canceled 40 minutes later. In total, Scott performed for an hour and 15 minutes before ending his show.
It is unclear whether stopping the show early would have saved lives, but those involved with the event detected crowd problems before the tragedy. At one point, a stampede of people burst through the gate to the festival, and attendees remembered an “aggressive” crowd environment throughout the day.
Just over a week before Astroworld, concert organizers for Playboi Carti canceled a show for similar behavior at the gate. Additionally, Scott has a long history of unruly, unsafe conduct at his concerts, and the concert’s producer, Live Nation, has also faced safety complaints and civil litigation in the past.
Are People Filing Lawsuits?
Yes, the events at Astroworld were a “predictable and preventable” tragedy and criticizing Travis Scott and Live Nation for putting profits over safety.
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