It was a night of unimaginable horror. Rapper Travis Scott took the stage at Astroworld, and it seemed like it would be like so many nights before; fun, raucous, a little bit dangerous, but mostly harmless. However, revelry turned to horror as the press of the crowd turned deadly and people were trampled underfoot. The crowd screamed for the concert to stop and for someone to help, but Scott performed for an unimaginable 30 minutes longer while people died at his feet.
How could things have gone so horrifically wrong, and what do we know about what happened? CELEB takes a look at the horror at Astroworld, the aftermath, and what Scott has been doing since realizing the gravity of what happened just feet away from his stage.
Death Toll Climbs
It’s been over a week since the horror at the Astroworld festival, but the heartache isn’t over. In the initial aftermath of the mid-show stampede, 8 people were reported dead. Online rumors suggest that the number may be higher than that – much higher. Some have suggested that the death toll could be well into the dozens or hundreds, and Live Nation is working furiously to keep the truth under wraps. However, internet rumors aside, the official death toll now stands at 10, after two more victims succumbed to their wounds over the past week. The most recent victim to die was 9 year old Ezra Blount, who sustained catastrophic injuries after his father passed out in the press of bodies.
Since the November 5 tragedy, the internet rumor mill has been working overtime coming up with explanations for what happened. The most popular theory is a bizarre one – that Scott is a Satanic devil-worshipper who orchestrated the mass casualty event as a sacrifice to pass over “to the other side.” Videos online have circulated of what people point to as proof of Satanic imagery and intent to cause harm. According to this theory, Scott is “evil” and fully to blame for what happened, using the souls of the dead for his occult and nefarious rituals.
Scott, however, has remained relatively out of the public eye since Astroworld, promising to cover funeral expenses of those who died. An investigation has been launched into what happened, what went wrong, and who’s to blame, but it will take some time to sort out. For now, the families of 10 victims are heartbroken by the stunning, sudden, and unimaginably tragic loss of their loved ones.
What We Know Now
Multiple people were killed and dozens injured in an apparent stampede as Scott took the stage at Astroworld. Here’s what we know so far:
- Astroworld is a 2-day event in Houston, TX, and around 50,000 people were gathered when tragedy struck on Friday.
- Before the concert, Houston chief of police Troy Finner met with Scott in his trailer. According to a report, Finner was concerned about safety during the concert because Scott has a history of riling up fans and inciting violence. Finner states he believed Scott had good intentions for his hometown of Houston, but there was concern about security.
- Speaking of security, there may have been signs heading into it that Live Nation had not provided enough adequate security. The city’s mayor says it’s too soon to know if the security measures were adequate, but they had more staff than the World Series. However, the grand total of security staff seems – at first glance – to total less than 700, to handle a crowd of nearly 60K.
- Because Scott has a history of encouraging fans to rush the stage and break through barricades, it may not have been immediately apparent what was wrong.
- According to witnesses, at one point the crowd began pressing forward. While this isn’t uncommon at a concert, it’s incredibly dangerous. People online describe being unable to lift or lower their arms, struggling to draw breath, and being swept around as the crowd moved.
- One concert goer was filmed jumping up on a platform and trying to get a cameraman to call in the appropriate staff as the press continued, yelling that someone was dead. The cameraman – whose wife has since spoken out – apparently could not understand the gravity of what she was saying and tried to usher her and another man trying to help off the platform.
- As the press churned people underfoot, 8 people were killed – including two younger than 18. Once the proper staff had been notified and medics were dispatched, the concert continued. For 30 minutes after the press first started, Scott continued to perform, at one point pausing to call for security.
- It took Live Nation almost a full hour to cancel the rest of the night’s events.
- There were reports of someone injecting concertgoers with a drug which may have caused the stampede – but since those initial reports came out, only one security guard is believed to have been injected with an unknown opiate, and it may or may not have been related to the stampede. A criminal investigation has been launched.
- It’s unclear how much Scott could see or understand of what was happening.
- It’s also unclear how much the staff knew and what their responses were.
- The on-site medics appeared to be ill-trained to respond to the injuries they were dealing with, and one ICU nurse who found herself “drowning in people” reports watching them give CPR compressions to people with pulses while those without pulses went without aid in the confusion.
- At one point the crowd chanted, “stop the show!” in an attempt to get Scott’s attention and have him take control of the situation.
Since Friday, the fallout has been growing. Scott issued an apology, indicating his willingness to work with the police as a criminal investigation has been opened on the incident. On Saturday, Scott spoke out per USA Today, “‘I am absolutely devastated by what took place last night,’ the rapper, a native of Houston, wrote on Twitter. ‘My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival. Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life.'”
Live Nation is also cooperating with the investigation, looking into whether they took adequate safety precautions and what went wrong. The investigation will dig into how the stampede started, what Scott knew, as well as whether or not Live Nation staff failed to act in a timely manner once they realized something was wrong.
Scott Withdraws from Day N Vegas
Scott, meanwhile, has faced swift and vicious backlash online. Many called his apology inauthentic and disingenuous. Scott does have a history of instigating such events at his shows, and people say that’s enough reason to hold him criminally liable whether or not he could see what was happening.
Others say no, it depends on what he knew when. Scott has already faced two criminal charges for injuries caused after he instigated “raids” at other concerts, and is currently embattled in a $1 million lawsuit from a man who was injured when he was swept off a balcony at a concert when Scott urged fans to press forward. Fourteen more lawsuits have been filed since Friday, and others are expected. USA Today reports, “He has been arrested at least two times – in 2015 and 2017 – for inciting riots and disorderly conduct at his shows. He pleaded guilty in both cases, the former resulting in a one-year probation and the latter he was ordered to pay court fees and restitution for two injured people.”
Because the firestorm against him has been so severe, Scott has withdrawn from a planned performance at upcoming Day N Vegas. According to those close to Scott he is absolutely devastated by the events. There are several scenarios that could play out; they prove Scott knew and egged on the crowd, they prove he didn’t know but was negligent, they prove he did know but didn’t do enough, or they prove that he didn’t know and wasn’t negligent.
It seems likely that Scott, due to past behavior, and Live Nation due to poor planning, will face both criminal and civil repercussions for this devastating event. With 8 young lives lost – all between ages 14 and 27 – dozens taken to the hospital and hundreds more injured less severely, it’s an unimaginable tragedy to come from what should have been a night of celebration of the love of music. Festivals moving forward will have to pay closer attention to the way these concerts are set up and their security to attendee ratios; they can no longer say, “we couldn’t have imagined it would happen.”