Eight fans tragically lost their lives and dozens more were injured Friday night at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park Stadium in Houston, in a crowd of over 50,000 people.
This tragedy is being investigated as authorities try to figure out what exactly went wrong and why. At 9:38 p.m., local firefighters and police declared the concert a “mass casualty” event, just 32 minutes into Scott’s set, as crowd surges began. Fans continuously surged towards the stage, causing a stampede-like rush that was easier to move with than to avoid. Scott’s set was ended 15-20 minutes ahead of schedule.
Niaara Goods, a 28-year-old from New York, described her experience at AstroFest to AP News.
“As soon as he jumped out on the stage, it was like an energy took over and everything went haywire,” Goods said. “All of a sudden, your ribs are being crushed. You have someone’s arm in your neck. You’re trying to breathe but you can’t.”
This tight, compact setting is nothing new for general admission shows. Concertgoers will push to the front to try to get a better view of the artist and oftentimes it escalates to a point where it’s hard to control where you move. This show however, was drastically different.
“Some people are laughing at us — those who are screaming to get out. Because they thought it was funny,” Goods said. “They didn’t realize it was terror. It was literally the scariest night of my life. I literally thought I was going to die trying to get out. That’s just not what you pay for.”
At one point in the show, the music stopped and an ambulance drove through the crowd to rescue a passed-out fan. During this pause, Scott appeared still unaware of the massive scale of injuries that were occurring. In videos online, fans close to the stage can be heard chanting “stop the show” while waving to get his attention.
Travis Scott continued his performance shortly after this video ended.
While all the details are still being sorted out, many believe Travis Scott is to blame. His shows have been outrageously wild in the past, without much of a concern for safety. He calls fans at his concert “ragers” and repeatedly says “Let’s rage,” causing violent mosh pits. Scott was even arrested twice before for encouraging fans to ignore and surpass security to join him on stage.
The first time was when Scott was infamously arrested directly after his set at Lollapalooza in 2015 in which he was charged with disorderly conduct. In a fan video from the festival, Scott was heard saying “Everyone in a green shirt get the fuck back,”– referencing the security staff. He was also arrested in 2017 for allegedly inciting a riot at The Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion when he again encouraged fans to ignore security and rush the stage.
In that same year, 23-year-old Kyle Green was pushed from a three-story balcony at a New York City show after Scott allegedly encouraged fans to jump into the crowd. The fan suffered a broken wrist, fractured ankle and fractured vertebrae that left him paralyzed.
“I fell and hit the floor. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by security guards, who scooped me up,” Green said to the New York Post. “Travis Scott was yelling at his security guards to bring me to the stage.”
Scott then strangely gifted Green a ring as his “consolation prize” before he was put into an ambulance. This case is still on-going.
Another sign of Scott’s negligence towards safety was when Astroworld Festival tickets sold out and he wrote, in a since-deleted tweet, that they will be “sneaking the wild ones in.” Investigators are looking into the possibility that the concert was over-capacity and under-staffed.
In one of the many lawsuits against Travis Scott and Live Nation, injured fan Manual Souza argued that Astroworld organizers disregarded early signs of trouble saying that “concertgoers breached a security gate around the park, stampeded into the premises, and trampled over one another.”
The aftermath of this horrific night has only just begun for the superstar rapper. He first addressed the situation in a written statement via Twitter where he said he was “devastated” for the families, but noticeably left out an apology in his message. He then posted a series of videos to his instagram story expressing how he’s sending prayers to the families of fans who lost their lives. In the video, he appears restless with his eyes barely open while constantly rubbing his head.
Scott announced that he will be covering the funeral expenses of the fans who passed away at AstroFest; he will also refund everyone who attended Friday’s show. Scott will no longer be performing at the “Day N Vegas” festival on Nov. 13 in Las Vegas.
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