The Astroworld Festival held on Friday represented, to some, a return to normalcy. The sold-out concert was packed, with 50,000 people eager to forget the throes of anxiety brought on by the pandemic.
But as people danced and chanted to the music, none of them anticipated the tragedy slowly brewing.
After 9 p.m., rapper and event organizer Travis Scott was still performing—40 minutes over the expected time. And as the rapper performed, the event-goers inched towards the stage.
“Once (Scott) started, all hell broke loose,” 23-year-old Alexis Guavin, an event goer, said. “All of what is to be 50,000 people ran to the front, compressing everyone together with the little air available.”
In footage that emerged after the concert, the rapper pauses in confusion as an ambulance with flashing lights moved into the crowd.
“There’s an ambulance in the whoah whoah,” Travis said.
Moments later, Travis Scott was seen interrupting his performance requesting help for a fan that had passed out.
But in another video, the rapper is seen asking fans, “Who asked you to stop? Y’all know what Y’all came to do.”
In the catastrophe that followed, with people pushing and shoving, eight of the 50,000 party attendees died. All aged between 9 and 27, with hundreds more injured—including a nine-year-old boy in a coma.
Travis Scott, following the incident, took to his Twitter account to say that he is “absolutely devastated by what took place last night.”
“My prayers go out to the families and all impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival,” his statement read.
Travis expressed that he was willing to offer his total support for the Houston PD.
However, when he was asked whether Travis Scott should have stopped the event by NBC’s “TODAY” show co-host Savannah Guthrie, Houston’s fire chief said, “Absolutely. Look: We all have a responsibility starting from the artist down.”
Recalling the footage of the ambulance in the middle of the crowd, Chief Samuel Pena said, “At one point, there was an ambulance that was trying to make its way through the crowd. And he’s got, the artist has, command of that crowd.”
Demanding for accountability for the stampede on Friday, the parents of the nine-year-old boy fighting for his life in hospital are suing Travis Scott. With the boy’s lawyer saying, “This young child and his family will face life-altering trauma from this day forward, a reality that nobody expects when they buy concert tickets.”
On top of this suit is another alleging that the event’s surprise guest Drake incited the crowd.
Drake broke his silence and posted a instagram statement offering his condolences to the victims and their families.
The police have launched an investigation, including allegations that somebody was injecting people with drugs in the crowd.