Travis Scott, a wildly popular hip-hop artist, hosted his signature Astroworld festival on Friday. The massive festival was held in Houston, where over 50,000 people attended, the Houston Fire Department says.
Scott’s events, and Astroworld in particular, have become famous for the raging mob mentality of fans and disregard for security measures. In 2019, three people were trampled and sustained injuries when crowds rushed through barriers in the parking lot.
Scott previously promoted the unruliness of his crowds, posting videos with captions such as “Everyone have fun. Ragers set tone when I come out tonight.”
According to authorities, an already exhausted crowd made a “push to the front of the stage” later in the night on November 5, causing panic as fans were trampled or crushed. Assistant Chief of Police Larry Satterwhite told reporters that some concert-goers suffered “medical episodes.”
It was later confirmed that 11 fans went into cardiac arrest. Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña stated that 300 fans had to be treated for injuries at the festival, with another 23 being taken off-site to the hospital.
HPD Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite was on duty at the festival and gave his account during a press conference this morning.
“Once we started having the mass casualty incident, they were starting CPR on several people, and it happened all at once,” said Satterwhite. It seemed like it happened over the course of just a few minutes. Suddenly, we had several people down on the ground experiencing some of type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode.”
Videos online show ambulances trying to push through the crowd to reach patients. Scott paused his concert multiple times to try and bring the injured from the front to the back. However, the event was forced to end early, and the second day was canceled.
The cause of death for the 8 individuals remains unknown as of Saturday. Houston medical examiners and investigators continue to examine the incident. The names of the casualties haven’t been released but one of them was a 10-year-old boy said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
Scott gave his condolences on Twitter, saying he was “committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need.” The victims were all under the age of 30, with one death being a 14-year-old.
During the same night, a security guard was allegedly pricked with a needle as a person attempted to inject something into the guard’s neck. The Houston Police Department reported that the guard fell unconscious and had to be given Narcan.
Houston Police, Fire Department, and city counselors have organized a reunification center at 8686 Kirby Drive near the South Loop at the Wyndham Houston hotel for festival attendees to connect with their family members or loved ones. Residents that live outside of Houston who haven’t heard from their loved ones can call 832-393-2991 or 832-393-2990.