Everything We Know About What Happened at Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival
A criminal investigation has now been launched into the festival where 8 people died and hundreds were injured.
Eight People Died at the Houston Festival
At least eight people were killed at the popular Astroworld festival in Houston on Friday, including two teenagers. The victims range in age from 14 to 27. Hundreds of other people were injured, according to authorities, but the exact cause of death for the deceased hasn’t been determined yet, according to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
The victims include: John Hilgert, a high school freshman, Franco Patino, 21, Jacob Jurinek, 20, Rudy Peña, Mirza Danish Baig, Brianna Rodriguez, 16, Axel Acosta, 21, and Madison Dubiski, 23, according to CBS News.
The event has now been recognized as a “mass casualty event.” Three people remained hospitalized Tuesday, CNN reported.
What Happened at the Festival?
The festival, which drew a crowd of 50,000, was packed, so much so that people could not move, causing some to collapse, some to fight for air and some to be trampled, according to multiple reports. According to concertgoers, the crowd surge began at 9 p.m. when Travis Scott, who was performing in this hometown, took the stage.
“As soon as [Scott] came out, the wave just, like, kind of crushed me in and I was like, this,” concertgoer Kevin Perez told Inside Edition, as he held his arms tightly to his chest. “I was being controlled by everybody, and I had to, like, keep my head up like this, like towards the sky so I can breathe.”
Multiple concertgoers also said that Scott continued the concert despite the chaos. In numerous TikTok videos, the rapper can be seen performing as people who appeared passed out were being crowd-surfed to help, but it’s not clear if Scott could see the magnitude of the chaos.
In another video, the popular rapper can be seen stopping the music as he acknowledges that it appears someone has fainted and tries to get the person help. He also at another point said, “there’s an ambulance in the crowd, whoa whoa whoa.”
In other videos, CPR was being performed on someone lying on the ground.
Why Wasn’t the Show Stopped?
Live Nation, who put on the concert, stopped it roughly 30 minutes earlier than its scheduled 10:10 p.m. ending, The New York Times reported.
It’s not clear when concert staff became aware of the severity of the situation, but Houston police chief, Troy Finner, said that authorities were worried that shutting down the concert early could make the situation worse, The Times reported.
“You cannot just close when you got 50,000 and over 50,000 individuals.” Finner told the paper. “We have to worry about rioting, riots, when you have a group that’s that young.”
Authorities are investigating the number of people in attendance and whether people entered without tickets after rushing the gate because the show had not been overcrowded, according to the official numbers of those in attendance.
“They could have had over 200,000 people in this venue; this venue was limited to 50,000,” Houston fire chief, Samuel Peña, told the paper.
There were also reportedly 500 security staff at the event, an increase from the festival in 2019.
Criminal Investigation Launched
Officials confirmed Sunday that a criminal investigation into the event has been launched, and that it is scheduled to take “weeks, if not longer,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told CNN.
The investigation will include reviewing numerous videos taken at the event by concert promoter Live Nation and concertgoers, authorities said. Officials also plan to have a look at the event’s security plan and permits issued for it to see if everything was done properly.
Investigators are also investigating whether drugs, specifically pills laced with fentanyl, had anything to do with the deaths, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Toxicology reports will help to assess what happened, Judge Lina Hidalgo said Monday.
At least 18 lawsuits have been filed in the aftermath of the event, CNN reported.
Live Nation released a statement noting that they will cooperate with authorities' investigation.
"We are focused on supporting local officials however we can," they said in part.
Travis Scott Speaks Out
On Saturday night, Scott took to Instagram Stories to express his sadness about what happened.
"I'm honestly just devastated," Scott said, looking visibly upset. “We're actually working right now to identify the families so we can help assist them through this tough time.”
Scott also said he had no idea how severe things were at the concert. Scott has said he will pay for the funeral expenses of those that died, according to the Houston Chronicle. He also is partnering with BetterHelp to give free online therapy to attendees in need.
"My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival," Scott also tweeted Saturday. "Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life."
Roddy Rich, who also performed at the festival, said he would be donating his earnings from the day to the victims’ families.
“Please have the families of those who we lost yesterday reach out,” the 23-year-old musician wrote on Instagram. “I’ll [be] donating my net compensation to the families of this incident. #Pray4Houston.
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