HOUSTON, Texas – On Friday, November 5, eight people were killed during rapper Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival concert. The youngest victim was just 14 years old.
Scott, who is known for encouraging his fans to “rage” with him at his concerts, has previously been arrested charged with disorderly conduct after prompting his fans to break through security barricades and rush the stage during the 2015 Lollapalooza.
Violence is not uncommon at Scott’s concerts, and in the past has even been encouraged. For example, Scott encouraged his crowd to beat up a kid for attempting to take his shoe while crowd surfing.
Despite having been warned about the crowd by the Houston Police Chief prior to the concert, Scott did not heed these warnings. Less than an hour into Scott’s set, a couple of his and played his concert to the end of his set
The festival started out with people rushing the VIP security entrance. In the videos of this stampede (see Tweet below), you can see some people trampling others, some just strolling in like they were entitled to be there, and some people tipping over the security scanners then destroying them.
As we were arriving to the Astroworld Festival at NRG Park right at 2:00, a stampede burst through the gates. Hundreds of people destroyed the VIP security entrance, bypassing the checkpoint. People were trampled. Some were detained.
(Excuse any language you may hear) pic.twitter.com/d0m2rjqAAk
— Mycah Hatfield (@MycahABC13) November 5, 2021
When the concert began, the crowd kept pushing closer and closer to the stage. There was no crowd control in place and concertgoers continued to shove their way to the front, packing the crowd in tighter and tighter until no one could move. The crowd became so tightly packed that people were being crushed and could no longer breathe. People began to lose consciousness and were sucked down under the feet of trampling fans still clamoring to get as close as they could to Travis Scott.
30 minutes into the concert, reports of injuries began to flood in from the middle of this crowd surge, but it was not until about 40 minutes afterward that the concert was stopped. Between 9:30 and 10:10 pm, people had died and many others were seriously injured.
Here is a horrifying firsthand account of what one person, later identified as Seanna Faith, experienced that night:
An eyewitness at Astroworld says the massive trampling Incident occurred right after @trvisXX performance began. She also mentions about the extreme crowding before Travis Scott started at Astrofest. #astroworldfestival #ASTROWORLDFest #AstroWorldhttps://t.co/06Cl6eSRJk pic.twitter.com/ZM9fWnDdYT
— Βƌβƌβơ⊔⟟ℓℓ⋲ (@WulfMunkey) November 6, 2021
“Within the first 30 seconds of the first song, people began to drown – in other people,” Faith wrote, “Breathing became something only a few were capable of. The rest were crushed or unable to breathe in the thick, hot air.” No matter how hard she and her friend tried to escape the crowd, they were unable to move, and soon people were screaming for help as those around them began to collapse, and soon the crowd began to fear being trampled to death… a fate which nearly befell the Arturo Sanchez, a 23-year-old who found himself knocked to the ground and was soon crushed below a large man, causing him to suffer a heart attack. According to ABC News, a nurse who was at the concert resuscitated Sanchez after his heart had already stopped.
“People were dying, we needed to stop the music, we needed help…”
Faith continued to describe how people, like Sanchez, were trapped on the ground and she had no way to help them. She details how she climbed up onto the platform of one of the cameramen and tried to tell him that people were dying, she wrote, “I screamed over and over again. He wouldn’t even look in the direction…” The cameraman supposedly called someone up to get Faith away from him. “The other man grabbed my arm,” she wrote, “and told me he would push me off the 15ft platform… if I didn’t get down… I told him people were dying. I showed him where. He wouldn’t look in the direction either.”
Faith recalls that people even began to boo her for trying to stop the concert. Eventually, she was able to get the attention of two medics at the venue and pointed them towards those who needed emergency assistance.
Seanna Faith was actually captured by multiple people on camera trying to get the attention of a cameraman to stop the concert or at least alert more people to the horrors that were occurring below. In the video, you can hear her screaming “There’s someone dead!” and “Stop the Show!”.
— Brady Stone (@bradystonex) November 6, 2021
Another witness recounts their equally traumatic story of being carried out of the mob and placed, unconscious, outside the danger zone. This witness, who fortunately happened to be an ICU nurse, noticed pulses were not being checked on some of the victims, and immediately jumped in to help.
The nurse recalls seeing that “people were getting carried out with their eyes rolled back into their heads by security, bleeding from their nose and mouth”. When the nurse asks the medical staff for key medical equipment (i.e., stretcher, ambulance, AED, etc.), they realize there is only one Ambu bag (for manual ventilation), one stretcher, and one AED for the 4 people who are “pulseless and blue”.
“People were begging the crew operating the stage lights and stuff around us to stop the concert and they wouldn’t.”
This nurse was not the only person, however, that was shocked at the lack of preparation and experience that the on-site medical staff had. Another witness explains that, while doing CPR on a girl, two members of the medical staff came over but had no clue what they were doing (see Tweet below).
— Elle Lynne (@ElleLynne5) November 7, 2021
Although the crowd was even chanting to “stop the show”, rapper Travis Scott didn’t pay any attention. There is even a video that has circulated the internet showing Scott singing while an unconscious man right in front of the stage was being carried out by medics. Worse yet, there were videos of concertgoers dancing on top of the ambulance carts while medics were trying to carry out those who needed immediate medical attention.
The aftermath of this night was devastating. Eight young people lost their lives:
Danish Baig, 27
Rodolfo Peña, 23
Madison Dubiski, 23
Franco Patiño, 21
Jacob Jurinke, 20
John Hilgert, 14
Axel Acosta, 21
Brianna Rodriguez, 16
27-year-old victim Danish Baig died trying to save his fiancée from being trampled by the crowd.
One 9-year-old boy, Ezra Blount, is currently in a medically-induced coma after suffering severe major organ damage and brain swelling. Ezra was attending the concert with his dad who, when the crowd began to surge, put him on his shoulders to keep him safe. However, the dad passed out from the intensity of the crowd, causing Ezra to fall and get trampled.
There are many people blaming Scott for not stopping the show when he saw the chaos ensuing and people passing out, when he saw the emergency vehicles in the crowd, or when members of the crowd were screaming for help and chanting to stop the show. Scott was unaware of any fatalities or the true nature of the chaos in the crowd until after the show.
There are now a growing number of lawsuits being filed against Scott, Drake (who was also performing at the show), Live Nation Entertainment, and other companies that were involved in organizing and planning the concert. These parties are being blamed for neglecting to take precautions to keep the concertgoers safe, as well as for not stopping the concert when there were clearly serious problems occurring.
Many people have pointed out artists that take responsibility for the safety of their fans, such as Post Malone and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park who both stopped their shows to make sure their fans were safe.
There is still an ongoing investigation into all the details surrounding the concert and its chaotic turnout. Police are investigating the possibility that in addition to the other horrors of this concert, drug spiking may have also been in play.
Scott has pledged to pay for the funerals of the victims and offers his condolences, support, and personal devastation surrounding the events that transpired.