Fatal crowd surge turns Astroworld into ‘The festival from Hell’

Around 50,000 people entered the Astroworld festival, and hundreds left critically injured.

Photo courtesy of Ça C'est Culte.com (CC BY 2.0)

Around 50,000 people entered the Astroworld festival, and hundreds left critically injured.

Astroworld, a multi-day music festival hosted by rapper Travis Scott, kicked off on Nov. 5 but turned deadly before the end of the first day. Taking place in Houston, the event holding 50,000 people turned into a crowd surge and a deadly mosh pit, leaving eight people dead and hundreds injured. 

The festival seemed cursed from the beginning. Before the show even began, a crowd of people rushed through the VIP entrance, knocking others over and destroying metal detectors. Fans also piled on top of each other in the merchandise lines, pushing and shoving to get to the front. 

“We do know that we had people jump the fence, and at least one person was injured in the afternoon rush,” Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña told CNN.

About 30 minutes before Scott took the stage, the insanity began. People in the audience compressed up against each other, according to reports from concertgoers, pushing forward to get to the front of the stage. With barely any room to breathe, people began to scream and tried to escape the crowd, which was nearly impossible at this point.

Suddenly, once the rapper entered the stage around 9 p.m., the crowd surged forward toward the stage as the setlist began. Bodies started to collapse, people were fighting for their lives and nobody was safe. 

“The crowd became tighter and tighter, and at that point, it was hard to breathe. When Travis came out to perform his first song, I witnessed people passing out next to me,” concertgoer TK Tellez told CNN.

People were being trampled, stomped on and knocked over. Critics allege that although Scott knew this, he continued to sing. The staff working the event also knew what was occurring in the crowd; and again, they did not stop the event. Scott and concert organizers have come under fire for not stopping the performance while people were dying and losing consciousness throughout the crowd.

At around 9:30 p.m., officials received a report about the scene of the event. Additional resources were sent to the scene, and help was finally on the way. Multiple people tried to get the staff’s attention to stop the show, but the festival faculty completely disregarded their request. It was clear that people were in danger, but they chose to ignore that. 

“Travis Scott would have a short time in between songs, and we would scream our vocal cords out, so someone could hear us but nobody did,” Tellez said. “This year’s festival will be stuck with me forever. I’ve never seen someone die in front of my eyes. It was horrific.”

The screaming and crying is heard throughout multiple videos recorded during the event. You can hear people literally fighting for their lives, trying to cram in each breath to stay alive. By the end of the night, it was revealed that eight people were confirmed dead and over 300 people were treated at the field hospital set up near the festival. 

Audience members tried to help each other throughout the show by attempting CPR, but some were not successful. The youngest victim was 10 years old; he was taken to the hospital and was last known to be in critical condition. Multiple patients were in cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital, and others experienced irregular breathing issues. 

The cause of the surge still remains unknown, but investigators are searching for the reason. Many concertgoers stated that the event was hectic from the beginning, so it really is a mystery as to why this tragedy occurred. 

Scott later posted messages on social media that he was cooperating with authorities and wished nothing but the best for his fans, but many in attendance and reading reports of what happened at Astroworld have harshly criticized all parties involved for being responsible.