At Least 8 Dead, 300 Injured at Houston Festival

A crowd at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston suddenly rushed toward the stage, causing panic and chaos, and killing eight people, including a 14-year-old, authorities say. age.

“There are so many unanswered questions,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Saturday, a day after the tragedy left dozens of people injured. “Over the next few days, weeks – maybe even longer – we will take a deeper look at everything that happened, why it happened, what steps we can take to reduce this type of incident. . take place at any other time. “

An estimated 50,000 people were at the concert Friday night at NRG Park when the incident began brewing shortly after 9 p.m., according to Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the crowd to start moving toward the stage while Scott was performing, but authorities said they would review the drone and ground footage.

“The crowd started pummeling towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic and started to cause some injuries. People started falling out and becoming unconscious and that created more panic,” said Peña.

A question soon arose as to why the concert continued after Scott paused the performance a few times to seek help for the attendees in distress. A wanton video posted on social media footage of two young men begging a cameraman to stop the performance but was refused. A source close to the rapper said The Hollywood Reporter that he stopped the show after being informed of the seriousness of the situation.

“As soon as he jumped on stage, it was energizing and everything went well,” concertgoer Niaara Goods told The Associated Press. “Suddenly, your ribs are crushed. You have someone’s arm in your neck. You’re trying to breathe, but you can’t. “

The ages of the victims ranged from 14 to 27, although a victim’s age has yet to be determined. In addition, 25 people were transported to the hospital with 13 people still in hospital, 5 of them under the age of 18.

In a statement posted to social media on saturdayScott said he was “absolutely devastated.”

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“My prayers are with the families and all those affected by what happened at the Astroworld Festival. Houston PD has my full support as they continue to consider the tragic loss of life,” he wrote.

On Saturday night, Scott posted a video message to his Instagram Stories, addressing the situation. “I just want to send my prayers to those who lost their lives last night,” the rapper said. “We’re really working right now to identify families so we can help support them through this difficult time.”

He added, “You know my fans, my fans really mean the world to me, and I will always really want to leave them a positive experience.” He went on to say, “Anytime I can make sense of whatever is going on, I stop the program and help them get the help they need. I could never have imagined the severity of the situation.”

Scott reiterated that he is working closely with the city of Houston and the police and fire department to “try to get into this deep,” and asked anyone with any information to contact local authorities. direction. “Honestly, I’m just devastated, and I could never have imagined anything like this happening.”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Live Nation planned security for the concert, including 528 Houston Police Department employees and 755 others from private security.

“Perhaps the plans are incomplete. Perhaps the plans were good, but they were not implemented. Maybe it’s something completely different,” she said. “The families of those killed and all those affected deserve answers about what happened last night and that is why I am calling for an independent, objective investigation into the matter. what happened and how or how it could have been prevented or if this happened. a particular situation is simply out of everyone’s hands. “

Two sources with knowledge of the investigation said CHEAP on Saturday that police were looking into a drug surge in an area of ​​the festival where the chaos first began. Sources said it appeared to have been targeted at the uninitiated and that the increase in crowds was likely due to panic as attendees ran for safety.

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Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said they had “heard rumors of someone injecting other people” at the show, and confirmed that a security guard had been stabbed in the neck and lost consciousness, but was recovered. treat with Narcan and revive. “This is now a criminal investigation that will involve our homicide department, as well as drugs,” the sheriff said.

Video shared on social media showed chaotic scenes that began in the early evening, including hundreds of people toppling steel barricades and storming through security to enter the concert. Later, as the tragedy unfolded, paramedics could be seen carrying young people out on stretchers and attempting CPR on others. One clip shows Scott still performing on stage as some in the audience try to notify security officers of the emergency.

The fire chief said there was no residence permit for an outdoor event, but based on fire rules they could have 200,000 people at the venue.

Friday’s festival lineup featured artists including SZA, Master P, Yves Tumor, Toro y Moi, Roddy Ricch, Lil Baby and Scott, who are expected to close for the night from 8 : 45-10 pm. He brought in a surprise guest in Drake.

CHEAP contacted Astroworld but did not receive an immediate response on Saturday. Live Nation, when reached for comment, directed CHEAP with the following statement posted on social media: “Heartbroken for those lost and affected at Astroworld last night. We will continue to work to provide as much information and support as possible to local authorities as they investigate the situation. “

A reunion center has opened at the Wyndham Houston hotel for family members who may not have heard from their loved ones who attended the show.

“Our hearts are broken,” Hidalgo said. “People come to these events looking for a good time, an opportunity to relax, to make memories. It’s not the kind of event you come to learn about deaths. “

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This year’s event marks the third annual Astroworld run by Scott, who grew up in Missouri City, a suburb of Houston. According to the organizers, the 2021 edition was extended to two days due to demand.

A statement posted on social media by Astroworld Fest on Saturday confirmed that the second day of the event had been canceled due to the tragedy. “Our hearts go out to the family of Astroworld Festival tonight – especially those we lost and their loved ones,” the organizers said.

In a brief statement shared on Instagram, Apple Music – the official live-streaming partner of the two-day Astroworld Festival – wrote that their “hearts go out to the victims who lost their lives or were injured.” tragically.” Following Friday’s tragic events, Apple Music posted several videos of the concert to its verified social media accounts, but they have since been deleted.

Abbey White and Trilby Beresford contributed to this story.

November 6, 6:35 am Updating information from a knowledgeable source.
November 6, 9:15 am Updated with statement from Astroworld Fest confirming Saturday’s cancellation.
November 6, 9:30 am Updated with statements by Travis Scott and the Mayor of Houston.
November 6, 12:25pm Updated with statement from Apple Music.
November 6, 1:30 pm Updated with details from Saturday’s press conference.
November 6, 7:12pm Update with Live Nation statement posted on Twitter.
November 6, 7:27 pm Update Travis Scott’s video message from Instagram.

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