Arts & Entertainment

Festival performance leads to fans’ death

By Emily Croft, Staff Writer

Rapper Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival ended abruptly Friday night after a crowd surge killed eight people and injured numerous others. 

The Astroworld Music Festival is an annual festival run by Scott in his hometown of Houston, Texas at NRG Park, which is near the former Six Flags Astroworld. The festival was founded in 2018 and has occurred every year since, except 2020, due to the pandemic. The number of guests at the festival this year totaled 50,000. 

Before the show began on Friday, crowds rushed through the VIP entrance of the park with reportedly little regard for metal detectors, security and other attendees. People were seen jumping over fences, with at least one person injured on Friday afternoon. 

Scott took the stage for his performance at approximately 9 pm. Thirty minutes into the performance, first responders received notice of injuries in the crowd and a forming “crowd surge.”

The surge was described as a wave of bodies, pulling people left and right.

 Nick Johnson, a 17-year-old attendee at the concert, spoke to the New York Times regarding his experience inside the surge. 

“It was like hell… Everybody was just in the back, trying to rush to the front,” he said.  

Many reported that the easiest thing to do was to move with the crowd to avoid falling and being trampled. Following  notifications regarding injuries around 9:38 p.m., Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña noted that a “mass casualty event” had been declared. Even so, Scott continued to play for an additional 40 minutes, ending his show around 10:10 p.m. 

The injuries caused by the crowd surge ended eight lives, with the youngest victim being John Hilgert, a 14-year-old high school freshman. The victims’ ages ranged from 14 to 27.

Scott and his team publicly announced that they will cover funeral costs for all eight lives that were lost and offer refunds to everyone who purchased tickets to Astroworld. On Instagram Live, Scott stated that he loves his fans more than anything and would never want them to be harmed. 

Travis Scott’s recent festival led to several deaths due to unsafe crowds.
Photo courtesy of creativecommons.org

Many suffered major injuries from the moshing, pushing and violence, one of the youngest being 9-year-old Ezra Blount. 

During the concert, Blount was on his father’s shoulders to avoid the surging crowd. As the crowd became more restricted and hotter, Blount’s father became overwhelmed and passed out, falling and taking the young boy with him. As a result, Blount was trampled and taken to the hospital unidentified. His family members found him in the hospital in a coma, facing major organ damage and severe brain swelling.

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