At least eight people died at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas last night after a wave of crowds started pushing hundreds of people to the concert stage. Through The New York Times, local authorities have confirmed at least 8 deaths, 23 hospitalizations and hundreds of treatments at an on-site field hospital. At least 11 of the hospitalizations involved people with cardiac arrest.
The organizers of the festival, which started in 2018posted a statement on Instagram four hours ago, saying “Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival family tonight”, and stating that she wants to work with and support the local authorities. The organizers also said that the second evening of the festival, scheduled for Saturday evening, had been canceled.
NBC News reports that there were approximately 50,000 people in attendance at NRG Park in Houston. According to a press conference held by the city’s fire chief last night at around 9.15pm, “the crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage”, with numerous reports of people being trampled or unconscious. The Chronicle of Houston reports that Scott interrupted the performance several times during the night after seeing people near the stage in obvious distress.
The Houston Police Department said at the same press conference that the causes of the influx of crowds remain unclear. A video of the festival has started appearing online in the past 12 hours, showing scenes of unconscious bodies amid crowds of dancers. The Times quotes at least one 17-year-old participant who described the event as “like hell; Another noted that the event had been “eventful” from its start time earlier in the afternoon. Authorities at the press conference said the Houston medical examiner is currently investigating to determine a cause of death for the multiple deaths at the festival.
Astroworld is organized by LiveNation. Previous versions of the festival took place in 2018 and 2019.
Update, 11:30 am CT, 11/06/21: Scott has has now posted a statement on social media, writing that he is “absolutely devastated by what happened last night” and that his “prayers go out to the families and to all who were affected” by the events of last night. He also reiterated his “full support” for the Houston police as they investigate the incident.
Update, 1:53 p.m. CT, 11/06/21: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner gave a press conference this afternoon, confirming rumors that two of the people who died at Astroworld on Friday night were minors. (The event was billed as for all ages.) Turner revealed that a 14 and 16-year-old were among the eight people who died. Others were 21, 23 and 27, with the age of a victim still not found.
Turner also said 13 people are still hospitalized in connection with the concert, 5 of whom were also minors.
Conversations and speculation about the causes of the influx continues to plague online. Some (including a report of Result) focused on past incidents in which Scott was seen encouraging fans to act dangerously during his shows, including during a Lollapalooza in 2015. (Scott eventually pulled the plug on last night’s show, although video circulated online of him continuing to perform even after people were taken from the room in ambulances.) There have also been unofficial sources — most of them notably cited in a report by Hollywood journalist– suggesting that authorities investigate rumors of drug doping incidents which may have contributed to the deadly panic, although, again: the large number of people involved and the intense chaos of the event currently make it very difficult hearsay filtering based on real events.