The Astrofest Tragedy
December 8, 2021
On November 5th, around 50,000 Travis Scott fans attended the Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas in hopes to enjoy their night seeing their favorite artist. Unfortunately, eight of the concertgoers did not survive the night. An additional twenty-five were hospitalized. A ninth victim was confirmed dead on November 10, and the tenth was pronounced dead on November 14. The venue where the concert was at could have held up to 200,000 people, so what went wrong?
The ten lives lost at Astroworld include twenty-one year old Franco Patino, fourteen year old John Hilgert, sixteen year old Brianna Rodriguez, twenty-three year old Rudy Peña, twenty-seven year old Danish Baig, twenty year old Jacob E. Jurineck, twenty-one year old Axel Acosta, twenty-three year old Madison Dubiski, twenty-two year old Bharti Shahani, and nine year old Ezra Blount.
This is not the first time Scott has gotten in trouble for his “raging” crowds. In 2015, he was arrested for inciting his fans to jump crowd barriers at the Lollapalooza music festival. His second arrest was in Rogers, Arkansas after once again encouraging the crowd to break barricades. In November 2019, three people were injured and hospitalized at Scott’s yearly Astroworld festival.
Before the concert had begun, concert organizers and the Houston officials expected the crowd would be difficult to control. A police chief who knew Scott personally went to inform him of his concerns with controlling the crowd. As anticipated, fans were in line packing the gates as early as 3:00 in the morning. When the gates finally opened at 10:00 a.m., security was not enough to hold them all back. Fans who had failed to purchase a ticket were rushing in, leading to mass chaos. This was only the beginning.
Once Scott came on stage, nearly 50,000 fans stormed to the front and got compressed against each other making it hard to breathe. The crowd was squishing each other trying to get room to breathe. Mosh pits then began in every direction.
Fans proceeded to fall to the ground and get trampled by other concertgoers who were rushing to the front many of them becoming unconscious in the process. Fans were trying to get help from security, and even trying to get Scott’s attention. Some even climbed up on stage pleading for help to security guards.
The first reports of people getting injured were around 9:30 p.m. Following this, an ambulance arrived and made its way through the crowd. Video footage shows Scott asking the crowd “What is that?” as the ambulance came into view. The music then stopped, as Scott looked at the crowd trying to calm the commotion. He then said to the crowd, “If everybody good, put your middle finger up in the sky.” Just eight minutes later, a mass casualty event was declared by Houston police. The festival officially stopped at 10:10 p.m. According to Houston fire Chief Samuel Peña, the exits to the venue weren’t blocked. However, the high attendance made it nearly impossible for fans who were packed tightly around the stage to escape.
Scott and other performers immediately received backlash following the tragic concert. There is division among fans on where to place the blame. Some are choosing to point fingers at Scott because they feel he initiated the mayhem of the crowd, and that he could have done more to prevent the chaos. At the same time, fans believe he should not be held accountable because he was only the face of the event and had nothing to do with what occurred.
Scott posted an apology video to his Instagram story on November 7th. In the video, he revealed that he was devastated and could never have imagined this happening. “We are actually working right now to identify the families so we can help assist them during this tough time,” Scott said. Few fans viewed his regrets as sincere. Many thought the video came off as a “joke” and was a poor excuse for an apology.
As of November 15, there have been 46 civil lawsuits filed in Texas. Scott, Drake, and Live Nation Entertainment are among those being sued. It is unknown now if the artist will face charges or not.