Eight people died and hundreds of others were injured at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas Friday night. The incident occurred on Day 1 of the sold-out music event held at NRG Park, where about 50,000 people gathered to catch performances by Lil Baby, SZA, Roddy Ricch, Don Toliver, and more. Local
Who is Travis Scott?
The festival was Scott’s first Astroworld show in Houston and his first festival performance ever. The rapper is currently promoting his new album Astroworld, which has recently received stellar reviews and topped several critics’ best-of lists.
Scott was the fourth most popular artist on Spotify over the last 30 days, ahead of Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar, and Ed Sheeran. The song he contributed to the soundtrack for A Star Is Born has become the most streamed song of the year and topped the Billboard Hot 100. Scott also played a sold-out show in Cleveland on Friday.
Scott has been married to longtime girlfriend Kylie Jenner since 2016 and the couple shares baby Stormi Webster together.
Reports of violent chaos first surfaced around 11:30 p.m.
What happened at the Astroworld Festival?
The crowd, reported to be between 60,000 and 70,000 people, was in close quarters as the music played, according to Houston police. Scott — born Jacques Webster, Jr. — was on stage for about an hour and a half when the crowd began moving from the general admission area, where they were required to enter for the festival, to the premium viewing area, where they were required to pay for entry. According to police, people began climbing fences and jumping over barriers, and things quickly escalated into a chaotic, all-out brawl.
Paramedics and police attempted to evacuate the roughly 7,000 people trapped in the area, but the massive, heated crowd had completely overtaken the area, preventing any relief from arriving. At one point, police used pepper spray on the massive, threatening mob.
What are the causes of the accident?
Police said Saturday that about 600 people packed into the park’s main concrete field were overcome by an aggressive crowd. “Most people were calm, but some were not,” an official told the Houston Chronicle. “We saw people trampled. There were a lot of people transported to hospitals.”
Although officials have not said what exactly caused the surge, the tragedy occurred during the first few hours of the three-day festival. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told the outlet the crowd became rowdy and pushed police barriers, which led to chaos and the deaths.
What are people saying about it?
According to accounts, hundreds of attendees of the festival began sprinting at the beginning of Kanye West’s performance, and numerous people fell off the three to four foot wide steel barricades surrounding the festival’s entrance area. Several videos taken by festivalgoers as the chaotic scene unfolded were posted to social media on Saturday.
The first fatality was reportedly a 15-year-old girl who died at the event. Austin, Texas police did not release the girl’s name, but family members told local news channel KHOU that she was accompanied by her mother at the festival. Both were taken to nearby hospitals after suffering injuries.
How can we prevent these disasters in the future?
How do mass-event fatalities occur?
It is common to have fatalities at large-scale concerts and events, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). However, most of the time, these accidents are associated with overcrowding or improper crowd control.
OSHA’s national mandate is to protect workers, and one of its main missions is to evaluate a “plan of action to prevent serious injury and/or death at work” – meaning how to reduce the risks involved with working with people at large-scale events like music festivals.
“It can take quite a bit of planning to ensure a safe and enjoyable event, but it’s also important to know what to do in the event that an accident occurs,” OSHA spokesperson Michael D’Aquino told the Los Angeles Times.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says it was a “tragic and senseless tragedy.” “There’s no explanation,” Emmett added. “It’s an accident of nature. It happened that way and it shouldn’t have happened.” According to authorities, the crowd of attendees crushed against a security fence and a temporary metal fence along a concrete pathway leading up to the main stage. Although authorities believe the metal barricade was not a factor in the crush, the concrete structure and staircase led to overcrowding that then caused the stampede.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called it a “horrific, senseless tragedy.”
The authorities and the promoter have not yet offered an official cause for the mass panic and deadly stampede.