In what was described as a “blood bath,” the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival on November 5th has taken the lives of 10 people, most recently a nine-year-old boy trampled by audience members. Investigations continue to determine the events that led up to the loss of lives.
While memorials dot the landscape of NRG Park and green ribbons adorn schools, injured victims and grieving family members are looking for answers. First and foremost is the concert continuing as the crowd of approximately 50,000 were already at risk of serious and fatal injuries due to audience members surging to the stage to better view the performance.
Trouble brewing early
Witnesses claim that the chaos was starting in the middle of the afternoon as concertgoers were jockeying for the best positions well before anyone took the stage. Even merchandise and food lines had fights breaking out while people were in line. By the time the concert was underway, people in the crowd were left with little, if any, room to move.
Houston native and rapper Travis Scott, who was performing when the crowd began to surge towards the stage, started the annual event in 2018 ironically and tragically described by the famous musician as “raging.” His reputation for mayhem-filled concerts was so well known that Houston’s police chief spoke with him, expressing his concerns.
Deadly chaos ensues
Seeing the red and blue lights of an approaching ambulance convinced Scott to temporarily stop performing and attempt to bring calm to the chaos. After asking the audience members to put up a middle finger in the sky if they were “good,” he resumed his performance, urging the crowd to make the “ground shake.”
Live Nation, the event organizer, finally stepped in to stop the concert 30 minutes early. However, it was already 40 minutes after officials announced the start of a “mass casualty event.” Upon being notified of the stoppage, the rapper sprinted offstage, asking the crowd to “make it home safe.”
Not all of them did. The horrific event is considered one of the deadliest concerts in years. The events brought back memories of the 1979 Who concert in Cincinnati that killed eleven attendees. Clearly, that seminal moment has long been forgotten, resulting in past and potentially future crowd-driven tragedies.