The third edition of Scott’s Astroworld festival took place at NRG Park in Houston, with a sold-out capacity of 50,000 people. A “crowd surge” during Scott’s set on the first night of the festival (Friday, 5th November) left eight people dead and hundreds reportedly injured, with authorities declaring it a “mass casualty event”.
“Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode,” Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite told the Associated Press of how things unfolded immediately before proceedings were halted.
“We immediately started doing CPR, and moving people right then, and that’s when I went and met with the promoters, and Live Nation, and they agreed to end early in the interest of public safety.”
JUST IN: Travis Scott shares video addressing the tragedy at Astroworld Fest pic.twitter.com/MSjVpJH3fK
— XXL Magazine (@XXL) November 7, 2021
“I just want to send out prayers to the ones that was lost last night. We’re actually working right now to identify the families so we can help assist them through this tough time,” Scott said in a video posted to his Instagram Story yesterday (7th November).
“My fans really mean the world to me, and I always just really want to leave them with a positive experience. Anytime I can make out anything that’s going on, I stop the show and help them get the help they need. I could just never imagine the severity of the situation.”
The rapper went on to say that he and his team had been working closely with the city of Houston, including the local police and fire department to help understand how the tragedy took place, appealing to those who had information to come forward and contact the local authorities.
“I’m honestly just devastated. I could never imagine anything like this just happening. I’m going to do everything I can to keep you guys updated and keep you guys informed on what’s going on. Love you all,” Scott concluded.
Scott shared a brief written statement on Twitter following the event, saying he was “absolutely devastated” and that Houston police had his “total support” as they investigate the tragedy. “I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need,” he wrote.
Houston officials gave an update yesterday, with mayor Sylvester Turner saying a “very, very active investigation” was underway to determine what happened that night. 528 officers from the Houston Police Department were present at the festival, with an additional 755 security officers were provided by event organiser Live Nation.
“There are a lot of rumours on social media,” he added. “Let me caution people not to buy into the rumours. Nothing is off the table [but] it is way too preliminary now to draw any conclusions.”
Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner confirmed that a criminal investigation would take place into the festival, including the department’s homicide and narcotics divisions. “We leave no stones unturned,” he said.
Reports that incidents of ‘needle spiking’ took place, with someone in the crowd injecting others with drugs, were also addressed by Finner. “We do have a report of a security officer, according to the medical staff that was out and treated him last night,” he said.
“He was reaching over to restrain or grab a citizen and he felt a prick in his neck… When he was examined, he went unconscious.” The security guard was revived after medical staff administered Narcan, a medication used to prevent the effects of opioid overdose.
Scott’s new comments come amid criticism levelled at the rapper and others involved with the festival, after a video began circulating showing Scott acknowledging an ambulance in the crowd before continuing his performance. Additional footage also shows audience members attempting to communicate with staff to get them to pause the show, to no avail.
“People were begging the crew operating the stage lights and stuff around us to stop the concert and they wouldn’t,” wrote Madeline Eskins, an ICU nurse who was in the crowd on the night, sharing her experience on social media.
“Hundreds of people ripped their vocal cords apart screaming for help, but we were not heard,” wrote Seanna Faith, another attendee, in a lengthy Instagram post. “The screaming intensified, as more people realized they could not breathe. We begged security to help us, for the performer to see us and know something was wrong. None of that came.
See footage below.
— honest papi (@trey_forde) November 6, 2021
everyone was yelling to stop and you still continued with the show how can you explain this bro pic.twitter.com/2UQRPZt144
— sergen (@s9rgen) November 6, 2021
This is you literally encouraging the crowd to disrespect security, while they are trying to make a path for medical to pass through. pic.twitter.com/ZMv6UWSkN1
— sí (@sisihunni) November 6, 2021