Astroworld festival surge at Travis Scott concert leads to 8 dead, hundreds injured after concert goers compressed to front of stage, leading to panic as drugs injection rumor now investigated.
What caused at least eight people to die and hundreds of others injured following a sudden crowd surge at the Astroworld Festival in Texas? That is the question organisers, investigators and revellers are asking themselves in the aftermath of Friday night’s tragedy.
A crowd of 50,000 showed up for the two-day event the Chronicle reported. The festival had been sold out, according to the official website.
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena said the crowd pushed toward the stage just after 9:00pm Friday while rapper Travis Scott was performing.
‘The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries,’ Pena said according to a Friday night press conference. Adding, ‘People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.’
More than 300 people were treated for injuries following the incident, Pena said in an update Saturday morning, with 23 people taken to area hospitals, 11 in critical condition, including a 10-year-old boy, while others were treated at the scene at NRG Park.
What caused stampede?
The annual music festival, named after Scott’s studio album, began in 2018 but was halted during the coronavirus pandemic last year.
Texas-born Scott unveiled the lineup in October, with artists including Lil Baby and Drake performing on Friday. Reality TV star Kylie Jenner, who has a child with Scott, was also in attendance, according to her Instagram posts.
Video shows a huge crowd rush as hundreds of people raced to get into the event and close to the stage.
At one point, Scott could be seen stopping the concert and asking for aid for someone in the audience: ‘Security, somebody help real quick.’
The show was called off soon after as injuries amongst revellers continued to mount.
Pena said officials did not immediately know the causes of death for the eight people who died.
A medical examiner would investigate KHOU reported.
People were really jumping on the cars of security personnel when they were trying to get to unconscious people in the crowd. This shit is disgusting. Look at these weirdos. #ASTROWORLDFest pic.twitter.com/Ctc0cvgBUV
— Squirt Reynolds (@SquirtReynoIds) November 6, 2021
‘Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival family tonight — especially those we lost and their loved ones,’ organizers said in a statement. ‘We are focused on supporting local officials however we can. With that in mind, the festival will no longer be held on Saturday.’
Officials set up a reunification centre at a hotel for family members who had not been able to reach relatives in attendance at the festival.
Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite was near the front of the crowd and said it seemed the surge ‘happened all at once’.
‘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.’
Astroworld is a two-day music festival that was scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday in Houston.
The event promoters had arranged for medical units to be on scene at the festival, however once the crowd surge began, those units were ‘quickly overwhelmed,’ Pena said.
🔴At least 8 dead and many injured after crowd surge at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in #Houston.
Video Thread 🧵🧵🧵#TravisScott
— Gabriel Hébert-Rouillier 💀 (@Gab_H_R) November 6, 2021
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner called for calm and urged people not to speculate on the cause of the surge, including rumors that certain producers may have been involved.
‘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,’ he said.
‘We don’t know, but we will find out.’
A report via TMZ claimed that someone ‘injecting’ the crowd with drugs started the surge. Investigators said they were investigating the claim while declining to accredit the purported injections as the cause of the surge.
Earlier in the day, video captured the crowd (see below) creating a stampede-like environment when hundreds of people attempted to rush through a VIP security checkpoint at the entrance of the festival, trampling others in front of them circa 2pm. Some were detained and arrested, KPRC 2 reported, but many flooded into the crowd, which reportedly had at least 50,000 people.
Finner said more than 350 police officers had been at the event throughout the day, as well as 241 security personnel.
— XXL Magazine (@XXL) November 5, 2021
Finner told reporters that Scott and the event promoters cooperated with police.
The deadly surge was the most deaths at a US concert since the 2003 Station nightclub fire that killed 100 people and injured 230 in Rhode Island.
Eleven people died and about two dozen were injured in 1979 at a concert for The Who as thousands of fans tried to get into Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum.