Words by Maisie Levitt, Online News Editor
Trigger warnings for violence, death.
A huge crush at a Travis Scott concert on the 5th of November has left 8 people dead and dozens injured. Taking place at the Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas, which Scott founded in 2018, audience members were pushed forward towards the stage until a surge led to a deadly crush.
Over 300 people were treated for injuries at a field hospital, while 25 people were taken to hospital – 11 being in cardiac arrest.
There were reportedly 50,000 attendees watching Scott’s concert, with the festival being sold out. The crush is thought to have started immediately due to a timer counting down to the beginning of Scott’s performance. When the concert began, there was a sudden surge towards the stage. Survivors have said “As soon as he jumped out on the stage, it was like an energy took over and everything went haywire”.
Survivors have also said that they witnessed audience members being pressed so hard against one another, that many struggled to breathe. According to the Houston fire chief Samuel Peña, the crowd’s movement led to panic and consequential injuries. When the surge began causing people to faint, panic only increased. The crush has been described as being triggered further by the unexpected presence of the rapper Drake coming on stage, leading fans to rush forward harder in excitement.
According to the Houston Chronicle, attendees began to collapse at around 9:39pm. However, Scott’s performance only ended at 10:15pm, a whole 36 minutes after it became clear that there were incidents in the crowd. Various concert-goers made attempts to alert the crowd to the medical emergencies, but they were continuously drowned out by the music or moved away by festival staff. Although Scott did not cancel the concert when many emergency vehicles cut through the crowd, the rapper did stop multiple times during his set to bring attention to fans in distress.
After the concert ended, the rest of the festival was cancelled.
The Houston police chief Troy Finner has reported that some attendees have reported suspicions of drug spiking by injection. He stated that a member of security felt a prick in his neck, fell unconscious and after needing to be revived with Narcan, medical staff noticed a small mark similar to that of an injection.
Survivors have begun to sue various people and organisations involved. One lawsuit involves Scott, the concert organisers Live Nation and others, claiming that they were responsible. Another lawsuit is suing Live Nation and the venue due to the security staff, who were hired by Live Nation, for ignoring multiple calls for help from audience members. It also addresses Scott and Drake, describing the former as having “incited mayhem and chaos at prior events” with the latter having “helped incite the crowd”. They have been described as continuing to perform even though the “crowd became out of control” and the “crowd mayhem continued”.
Although not all of the 8 victims have been identified, the age range is currently 14 to 27. Loved ones have described one victim as “beautiful”, “vibrant”, while others described another as “the sweetest person”.