Over the weekend, a crowd surge at the Astroworld Festival in Texas went terribly wrong when people were crushed and trampled as thousands of people tried to push their way to get to the front of the stage. Heartbreakingly, this led to the cause of death of 8 concertgoers and many more were injured. As people are watching more information comes forward from witnesses at the concert, many are wondering how this happened and why it was not stopped.
Before the show even occurred, ABC posted a video of hundreds of attendees running through the gates, destroying the VIP security entrance. Many were concerned to see this footage, as many bypassed security, and some were even injured by being trampled. This was before the show even began, which seems to allude to how the rest of the night went.
What is “crowd surging?”
Many eyewitnesses have explained that there was a countdown leading to when Scott would be performing, and as the countdown got closer to 0, the larger and more compressed the crowd became. Then, when Scott took the stage, the crowd surged forward and caused more people to have trouble breathing and pass out.
Astroworld stage, barrier and crowd density minus activity. pic.twitter.com/YhmNC7tE8f
— Working With Crowds (@wwcrowds) November 6, 2021
CNN, who did a story directly explaining what crowd surging is and why it can be so harmful. Crowd surging refers to when the back of the crowd tries to push themselves to get as close as possible, which creates the “crowd crush” which was the cause of death for many of the victims. According to CNN, which interviewed Paul Wertheimer who is passionate about making concerts and crowds as safe as possible: “‘It forces people in a crowd to compete against each other for the best location or best area to be. And in crowd safety, that’s the last thing you want to occur. You want people working together.'”
How did it get so bad?
As Scott began to perform, more people began to pass out and become trampled. Many were passing out due to lack of oxygen and being pushed, with nobody seeming to look out for each other. Officials received a complaint around 9:30 PM, and at 9:38 PM, a “mass casualty event” was declared. The concert, however, did not stop until around 10:14 or 10:15, according to a concertgoer.
According to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner, the concert could not just easily be shut down due to the threat of riots from the crowd, which would worsen the situation. According to a reporter and other videos, people were screaming and chanting for the show to stop, which raises questions about the validity of the potential riots.
What We Know
Over the weekend, more footage and first-hand accounts came to light that shows that it was not just the crowd, but the lack of a medical team as well. When the news first told about the deaths at Astroworld, many were confused as to how it happened, and whose fault it was.
Now, as more evidence from people who were there and able to tell their story is revealed, many are questioning why Scott himself didn’t stop the show. There seems to be evidence that he might have stopped the show once or twice, but many are confused why it was not stopped altogether.
Man left paralyzed at Travis Scott show in 2017 is “devastated” to hear about Astroworld Fest victims.
“He’s incensed by the fact it could’ve been avoided had Travis learned his lesson in the past & changed his attitude about inciting people to behave in such a reckless manner.” pic.twitter.com/HfwaR1a2PX
— Pop Base (@PopBase) November 7, 2021
Additionally, many are pointing out that Scott has caused chaos before at his shows and this is not the first time. A man who was left paralyzed after being pushed off a railing in a crowded concert noted that he was devastated for the victims from Astroworld.
Now, Scott and Astroworld festival organizers have been hit with their first lawsuit from the event. And, many are believing there is more to come. Many are hopeful there will be justice for the victims, those who were injured, and those who had to firsthand watch such a traumatizing event.