This past weekend, Travis Scott’s concert turned to tragedy when Friday, there was a surge in the crowd, causing the deaths of eight people. Hundreds more suffered from severe injuries.
The long awaited ASTROWORLD festival concert took place in Travis Scott’s hometown of Houston, Texas. Many fans were waiting with anticipation for the ASTROWORLD festival, which was initially set to happen the summer of 2019, but was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Initially, the concert was meant to house 100,000 people in 2019. However, the new venue housed 50,000 people, with tickets selling out overnight.
Before the festival commenced, the Houston police department spoke with Travis Scott and his management team about safety regulations and overall expectations on how the event should be managed in case of any riots.
The meeting was, “brief and respectful,” remarks Houston Chief of Police Troy Finner. Finner stated that the meeting occurred the Friday before the event occurred.
“I asked Travis Scott and his team to work with HPD for all events over the weekend and to be mindful of his team’s social media messaging on any unscheduled events. The meeting was brief and respectful, and a chance for me to share my public safety concerns as Chief of Police.”
However things didn’t go as planned, as that Friday night, the first day of the ASTROWORLD festival, people rushed the stage as soon as Scott started his first song. This caused people to fall and get trampled. There have been multiple videos coming out with people begging for the concert to end as Scott kept performing the set. There is also a video circulating of Scott telling the crowd to rush the stage, “You know what you came here to do.” He then proceeded to say, “I want y’all to shake the mother-f—ing ground.”
Scott has had a history of inciting events that led to the harm of concert goers. In 2017 during his show at Terminal 5 in New York, Scott reportedly convinced a fan to jump off of a balcony, leaving him permanently paralyzed. In another concert back in 2015, Scott had concert goers attack a concert goer who stole one of Scott’s shoes. In the video, you can hear Travis Scott encouraging the audience to, “F— him up.”
So far the casualties have been eight dead, ranging from the ages of 14 to 26, and thousands more hospitalized. Sami Anjum, a field medic who served for the ASTROWORLD festival, accounts the concertgoers were one of the primary hindering factors in getting people the medical help needed.
In an email Anjum stated, “Many bystanders offered to help or directed the field medics to take certain actions but they did not understand the volume, variety, velocity, and variability of the medical emergencies we were being faced with. … We just had way too many patients to formally document anything we should have been doing. We had too many patients and not enough medical staff.”
There’s been videos of some concertgoers dancing on top of medical vehicles trying to get people to medical care. In the video you can hear people yelling, “Stop, get off the car! Please!” You can hear Scott still performing in the background. Scott continued to perform for 40 minutes after the chaos ensued.
Reports state people had to lift unconscious up and had crowd surfed them in attempts to send to help. Many of the people in attendance share the sentiment that this was a life threatening affair.
One ASTROWORLD attendee, Andrea Contreas, stated, “A guy was stumbling trying to leave the crowd and completely passed out on top of this girl and she was screaming for help, so security dragged him out. This girl behind me passed out for a second then woke up.”
Another stated, “It was hell, everybody in the back was rushing to the front.”
Travis Scott issued an apology via Instagram Stories, noting his devastation about the ordeal as well as him working with the HPD to figure out the situation.
“I just want to send out prayers to the ones that were lost last night. Anytime I can make out anything that is going on, I stop the show and help them get the help they need,” said Scott.
Many have noted how unprepared the medical staff were for this event. An example is Madeline Eskins, an intensive care nurse who lost consciousness during the concert. She recounts waking up and being placed where other injured people were. She notes one person with their eyes being rolled back. After stating she was an ICU nurse, a security guard took her to where people were receiving CPR. She states that medical personnel appeared to have no experience checking for pulses or chest compressions. “They all looked terrified,” she states about the medical staff.
There are currently several lawsuits being filed against Travis Scott and his team. Kenneth J. Allen, a lawyer whose firm represented victims of the 2011 Indiana State Fair collapse, stated that this disaster could have been prevented.
“The reality is, this shouldn’t have happened and somebody needs to be held accountable,” said Allen. The legal proceedings could become extremely intricate. If enough of the 50,000 people in attendance file lawsuits, it could become a class action case.
Manuel Souza, is filing a lawsuit against Scott, organizers and other parties involved for their “motivation for profit at the expense of others health and safety”. He is currently suing for $1 million in damages, stating that he was trampled and severely injured.
Another attendee, Kristian Paredes, states that the organizers “knew or should have known” about Travis Scott and his fans history of chaos. More lawsuits are expected to be filed in the upcoming weeks.