The people who died during the performance of hip-hop artist Travis Scott at Astroworld music festival in Houston were between 14 and 27 years old, have announced the local authorities. 13 more people are in the hospital; five of them are underage.
The victims were killed yesterday when a crowd tried to get to the stage during a performance by the rapper. At that time, there were about 50,000 people at the concert of the world-famous artist. Hundreds of people had to get medical attention after the threat.
Much is still unclear about the cause and how it is possible that several people had a heart attack during the festival. Houston police are investigating whether there may be drugged people with an injection. Various American media reports about that.
The festival organization of Astroworld has now announced in a statement on Instagram to help local authorities with their investigation. Travis Scott has also expressed his support for the police investigation via a Twitter message.
and more information is coming out via witness statements and video footage. This shows that during Scott‘s performance, people became stuffy and unwell, and some were disposed of unconscious.
The chaos seems to have started earlier in the day. On social media, videos showpeople stormed some of the entrance gates of the festival around 2pm (local time). They were not searched for weapons or drugs, for example. The very first performance of the festival, by DJ Metro Boomin, was just over.
During the afternoon, there was a grim atmosphere on the festival grounds, visitors say to American media. “I arrived around 3pm and saw that people were struggling to stand upright,” a visitor tells The New York Times. She says that people behaved up and saw multiple brawls. Other attendees also speak of severe drug use and aggression among festival-goers.
Scott’s performance, the last of the evening, started at 8.45 pm. There was nothing wrong with the first songs, but around 9 pm the audience began to push forward, towards the stage.
Witnesses were previously talking about a fierce mosh pit, with people dancing violently jumping and pushing around. Other witnesses are now saying that the festival-goers just pressed hard against each other, on the way to the stage. “People who were in the front were crushed,” says a festival-goer to a local newspaper in Houston.
See how wounded are removed from the festival site here:
The urge escalated a few minutes after 9:30pm. Emergency services from the fire department, among others, were extorting. Video footage shows that a visitor gets a heart massage while the performance continues.
There are also several videos of people being disposed of unconscious. A few visitors try to get the attention of a cameraman and beg him to stop the performance.
According to attendees, Scott stopped the music several times, even when there was an ambulance in the audience, but then the concert continued for at least half an hour, until it was finally discontinued.
Video footage taken during the concert shows people climbing on emergency services cars:
Why Scott‘s concert went so wrong is still unclear. Various factors can play a role in this, says Syan Schaap, director of Event Safety Institute, a center of expertise in crowd management. “For example, the wrong arrangement of a location can cause crowds at the stage. In large festivals such as Lowlands, to prevent this, they work with different circles, with a limited number of people having access to the front circles.” Whether that was involved at Scott’s performance is unknown.
The way in which security guards and the internship managers deal with the situation also plays part. “The moment people are lifted unwell over the fence, that may be a sign that the audience is not doing well,” says Schaap. “An internship manager can then choose to stop the performance for half an hour, so that people can be removed and no casualties fall.”
According to the mayor of Houston, it is still “too early” to say if the security guards at the festival acted adequately. He calls for a thorough investigation.