At least eight people died in Houston on Friday, November 6, 2021, at rapper Travis Scott’s 2021 Astroworld Festival after a densely packed crowd of fans rushed the stage while the 29-year-old singer was performing. Dozens of others were seriously injured during the chaos.
Tragically, at least two deceased victims at the Astroworld Festival in Houston were minors, ranging in age from 14 to 16. Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner stated that scores of others were transported to the local hospital where some remained hospitalized for days.
Numerous victims who survived were under 18 years old. Another 300 concert fans were treated by medical personnel at a nearby field hospital.
Sold-out Rapper Drake and Scott Performance
At least 50,000 concert-goers enjoy the sold-out Houston concert held at NRG Park with Drake’s performance during Scott’s set.
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña stated in a news conference held the following day that concert-goers “began to compress the front of the stage” at approximately 9:00 PM. Houston Fire Department officials stated that the deadly crowd surge triggered panic leading to a mass casualty event as many fans began running for their safety.
Numerous times during the performance, rapper Travis Scott asked officials what had happened, stating that he wanted people in the area to provide help.
Once Scott understood what had occurred, he ended the performance to ensure public safety to assist local authorities, the Astroworld festival team, and security personnel.
The Festival’s authorities stated at a press conference that numerous victims experience cardiac arrest and had thanked the Houston police department, fire department, and Houston police chief Troy Finner for their “response and support,” at the concert.
The AstroWorld Festival Travis Scott Concert Hosted by Live Nation
Local first responders and Harris County authorities chose to keep the concert going after the mass casualty event had occurred. The concert promoter, Live Nation, ended the Scott concert at 10:10 PM, approximately 30 minutes earlier than originally planned.
At this point, the surge to the stage had occurred approximately 40 minutes earlier. During a news conference, the Houston Police Chief stated that the city officials believe that ending the event earlier could create more havoc and chaos.
Police Chief Finner stated that “you cannot just close when you got 50,000 or over 50,000 individuals” at the event. He said that “we have to worry about riding, riots when you have a group that’s that young.
Safety officials at the event stated that the surging crowd at Travis Scott’s AstroWorld Festival was not at fault for causing the problem. However, they did claim that the deaths that occurred at the Friday night AstroWorld Music Festival were “preventable.”
On Saturday morning, November 6, 2021, Police Chief Troy Finner stated at a news conference that the Department opened a criminal investigation involving the narcotics and homicide divisions into the AstroWorld tragedy.
Sadly, the horrific tragedy at Travis Scott’s AstroWorld Festival is not the first time concertgoers’ health and safety were compromised at the Harris County venue.
Scott’s History of Crowd Control Problems
The AstroWorld Music Festival is not the first crowd control disaster occurring in the United States, and not the first time a Travis Scott Concert has endangered the welfare of minors.
Like many of his concerts, when Travis Scott performs, he encourages the crowd to rush the stage. During an event at Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in 2017, a crowd surging the stage severely injured a police officer, security guard, and several others.
An ongoing investigation ended in 2018 when rapper Travis Scott pleaded guilty to two counts of disorderly conduct in connection with the January 2018 Arkansas incident.
During an August 24, 2019 performance at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts, Scott was cited for encouraging fans to jump over security barricades into the crowd. The singer was found guilty of endangering fans’ lives and negligent manslaughter after two individuals died as a result of the concert.
Travis Scott’s Criminal History
Prior to his criminal history at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion, Scott was accused of inciting a riot during his “Birds Eye View Tour” in 2017 that left six people hospitalized.
At that Arkansas event, Rogers Police Department arrested Scott citing crowd mayhem. In response to that event, concert organizers increase the level of security guards, determining that there was inadequate security at those events where the crowd surged forward toward the stage.
During a performance in Chicago, 66 fans were injured after being trampled by other attendees rushing the stage. Scott was also accused of endangering fans’ lives during his concert at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts.
In 2015, Scott was charged and arrested after encouraging fans to leap over barriers at Lollapalooza. The Lakefront Music Festival is an annual event that takes place in Chicago, Illinois.
Previous Travis Scott Crowd Control Disasters
On July 4, 2019, Travis Scott’s performance at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia also prompted a crowd rushing incident. During the event, several people were injured by being trampled or crushed against metal barricades.
Even though the local authorities postponed the event to June 2020, the reputed Scott fan who created the petition is still dissatisfied and feels that “Travis Scott and Live Nation’s decision to ignore safety concerns put attendees at risk.”
At this time, there are no dates scheduled for future concerts at AstroWorld. Sadly, it may be a long time before we see another concert in that area again.
The Deadliest Crowd Control Disasters
Travis Scott’s AstroWorld Festival is the deadliest event that has occurred on American soil since the deadly incidents at New York City’s Ariana Grande concert in Manhattan earlier this year.
This tragedy has brought to light many of the problems surrounding health and safety issues at Houston-native Scott concerts. With this latest tragedy, it is time to review and learn from the past.
In the 60s, during a Who concert, the crowd surging led to a barrier collapse and 11 people died of asphyxiation. In 1971, 11 fans were killed and 26 people were injured at a concert by The Who after a barrier collapsed during fan excitement.
In 1979, 11 fans died at the Indiana State Fair when the crowd surged forward on Indy 500 Day as singer and actress Olivia Newton-John performed.
In 1981, 8 fans were killed and 27 people were injured at a concert by The Who after a barrier collapsed during fan excitement.
In 1990, 11 people died from crowds surging at an Ice Cube concert in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1993, 12 attendees died and 42 people were injured at a concert by Los Angeles-based metal band Great White after pyrotechnics led to a fire on stage.
In 2003, 9 people were killed and 50 people were injured at a concert by The Dixie Chicks after a crowd surge during fan excitement.
In 2004, 7 people were killed and 50 people were injured at a concert by New York-based rapper DMX after a crowd surged the stage during fan excitement.
In 2015, 5 people died and 52 people were injured at a concert by the heavy metal band Great White after pyrotechnics led to a fire on stage.
In 2016, 22 people were killed and 59 people were injured after the crowd surged at New York City’s The Meadows Music & Arts Festival.
The deadliest crowd-related accident in American history is the 1989 collapse of a section of bleachers at the Indiana State Fair that killed 36 people.
Houston Police Chief Finner stated that “these panics and surges are tragic and we wish we could prevent them.” His words ring true, as trying to control the crowd at concerts continues to occur all over the world.
More Challenges Ahead as Law Enforcement Experience Chaos Caused by Surging Crowds
Specifically, there have also been several deadly crowd crush surge incidents in Europe, including at Katy Perry’s 2015 concert in Dublin and an Ariana Grande show in Manchester that hurt both the fans and security guards.
In addition to overcrowding, there have been deadly incidents on American soil at concerts by artists such as Linkin Park and Demi Lovato.
While many of these tragic crowd management incidents are preventable, it is vital that music venues, event planners, and concertgoers all work together to ensure that no more lives are lost.
Although highly publicized events such as the Ariana Grande tragedy receive international media coverage, there are hundreds of crowd management disasters every year.
Lesser-known music festivals, such as the one at AstroWorld, often receive much fewer media coverage.
What Crowd Safety Experts Say About Concertgoer Injuries
Some crowd safety experts have suggested that “crowd control measures are significantly responsible for causing unintentional injuries to people.”
Some of these events include:
- Injuries from being pushed and crushed against a metal barrier
- Injuries from falls, such as plummeting off temporary stages and balconies
- Collapsing due to competing waves of movement
- Fans being crushed or trampled by attendees that are rushing the stage
One report states “the most common types of injuries at concerts and sporting events are crush injuries, falls and crowd surfing.”
These findings may explain why there were several people who suffered life-threatening injuries during the Scott concert in Bristow, Virginia.
The petition for a ban on Travis Scott concerts is still active and has garnered over 15,000 signatures. “I will not attend any of his future shows,” said a petition organizer.
People who have been injured in a concert disaster are often left with numerous medical bills and other financial burdens.
If you or someone you know has recently suffered injuries during a crowd surge at one of Travis Scott’s concerts, contact an attorney that specializes in personal injury law.
They will be able to explain your legal options and help you determine the best course of action.
In addition, authorities now have an opportunity to take a closer look at the incident and begin stricter enforcement of safety measures from now on. One report indicates that injuries caused by crowd management and control problems are completely avoidable.
The Operations Plan for the Astroworld Festival Never Accounted for Surging Concertgoers
A thorough operation plan for the Astroworld Music Festival in Houston didn’t contain a provision for a crowd surge.
City officials, event organizers, and security and medical staff had contingent plans involving active shooters, adverse weather conditions, and possibly some form of civil unrest.
However, they never accounted for surging concertgoers, even though Travis Scott is known for his encouragement of violence at the expense of concertgoers’ health and safety.
Many of the attendees often engage in aggressive behavior as Travis Scott performs, even with adequate security on hand.
Fire Chief Believes Travis Scott Should Be Held Accountable for Fans’ Health and Safety
The Houston Fire Department’s Samuel Pena said that Scott must protect the fans at his Astroworld performances.
He believed that if Scott began his performance earlier in the evening, there would be a greater sense of calm in the area around his stage.
Houston officials and the police department are investigating how a crowded concert left eight people dead and dozens of others injured.
According to officials, the fire department had strategically positioned units ahead of time at the event based on their prior experience with other large outdoor performances like the 2019 AstroWorld Festival.
After hearing horrific accounts and reviewing numerous videos that provide local authorities evidence of what happened in the large crowd, many are evaluating the gross negligence at the subject premises that Friday evening.
The Grieving and Recovery Process
Concert promoters are refunding attendees the price of their purchased tickets for the main event and provide support to concertgoers and the victims’ families. The effort to support attendees includes providing mental health counseling and a health fund to help defer medical expenses and other costs.
While many attendees sustained injuries, others are living with horrific accounts of watching and participating in what happened during the Friday evening concert involving a large crowd surging forward.
The free mental health services are meant to provide relief to many young people who were absolutely devastated by what they saw and experienced at the Friday night concert.
Suing Scott and Festival Organizers
Many AstroWorld attendees are suing Scott, NRG Stadium (the venue) concert promoters, Live Nation, and the rapper Drake.
Some lawsuits filed by attendees and family members who lost a loved one at the event seek financial compensation and hold responsible parties accountable for their actions.
While these lawsuits could take months to resolve, the city of Houston is concerned about reimbursing residents for their expenses associated with the weekend of concerts.
Local officials are also concerned about how to avoid a similar disaster in the future and want concert organizers to put in place mandatory plans for using non-lethal weapons against concertgoers.
Likely, Travis remains legally liable while in active conversations with Houston officials, local first responders, and law enforcement officers concerning the AstroWorld tragedy that claimed the lives of eight people.
The security company, Live Nation, the venue owner, and Scott’s management team are also likely liable for the legal matters and challenges facing citizens that attended the concert.
Finally, attendees are still grappling with the loss of loved ones in the tragedy that occurred at the AstroWorld Festival in Houston where eight people died. The grieving and recovery process is an important part of the healing process when loved ones are killed in accidents that could have been prevented.
Many personal injury attorneys representing victims are building their cases on the defendants motivation for profit at the expense of fans’ health and safety.
Many of these cases are citing past misdeeds of failing to develop crowd management controls and blame a lack of responsibility of the performers, concert organizers, and others.
Filing a civil lawsuit will likely compensate for the helplessness people experienced that night and the terror they must overcome in the years ahead.