Travis Scott‘s Astroworld festival ended in devastation last night when the crowd began to surge forward at an alarming rate, leaving eight people dead and 300 injured. In light of the tragedy, the Saturday portion of the Houston-based festival has been canceled.
“Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival family tonight – especially those we lost and their loved ones,” festival reps said in a statement. “We are focused on supporting local officials however we can. With that in mind the festival will no longer be held on Saturday. As authorities mentioned in their press conference earlier, they are looking into the series of cardiac arrests that took place. If you have any relevant information on this, please reach out to @HoustonPolice. Thank you to our partners at the Houston Police Department, Fire Department, and NRG Park for their response and support.”
Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña said at a press conference that trouble starting shortly after 9 p.m. local time when “the crowd began to compress toward the front of the stage and that caused some panic and started causing some injuries. People began to fall out and become unconscious and that created additional panic.” This resulted in the “mass casualty” event, which occurred at 9:38 p.m. With an estimated crowd of 50,000 people, the festival’s medical tent and staff were “quickly overwhelmed” by the incident’s scale and called in the Houston fire department, which dispatched 50 units. Seventeen people were taken to hospitals, 11 of which were in cardiac arrest.
Scott, the Friday night headliner, was performing when the tragedy occurred.
According to witnesses, fans tried to rush to the front when Scott took the stage. “It just got worse and worse. Everyone was like you just can’t breathe,” Nick Johnson, who was near the front of the stage in the middle part of the crowd, told AP News. The high school senior recalled that concert goers started to crush each other and people started screaming. It felt like it was 100 degrees in the crowd, he said, and he and his friends were unable to move.
“Everyone was passing out around you, and everyone was trying to help each other. But you just couldn’t move. You couldn’t do anything. You can’t even pick your arms up,” Johnson added, noting that Scott seemed to be aware that something was going on but might not have understood the severity of the situation. At one point the rapper stopped his set and requested aid for someone in the crowd, saying: “Security, somebody help real quick.”
Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite, who was near the front of the crowd, said the surge “happened all at once.”
“Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode,” he said. “And so we immediately started doing CPR and moving people right then.”