Astroworld Festival Lawsuit

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Astroworld Concert Stampede Leaves at Least 8 Dead in Houston

Ten people were killed and hundreds injured at Travis Scott’s Astroworld music festival in Houston, Texas, at NRG Park on Friday, November 5, after concertgoers surged toward the stage around 9:30 p.m. during the rapper’s headlining set. The dead ranged in age from 14 to 27. Twenty-five people were hospitalized. Eight were confirmed dead on November 5. A ninth victim died on November 10, according to her family’s attorney, after previously being declared brain-dead. The tenth victim, a 9-year-old who had been in a medically-induced coma, died November 14. Some people appear to have been trampled, authorities said. About 50,000 people were attending the show.

Houston officials have vowed to provide answers to how this tragic event unfolded. “This is a very, very active investigation, and we will probably be at it for quite some time to determine what exactly happened,” Houston mayor Sylvester Turner said at a press briefing Saturday afternoon. Houston Police Department chief Troy Finner added, “This is now a criminal investigation that’s going to involve our homicide division, as well as narcotics, and we’re going to get down to the bottom of it.”

Some are wondering whether this could have been prevented. Authorities have pointed to both the chaotic situation Friday and alleged safety issues at Scott’s previous performances and prior issues at this venue and with the event’s promoter. Here is what we know about the devastating Astroworld incident so far.

So what happened?

At this point, it’s unclear if any single event triggered the chaos or if it was a combination of factors at the sold-out venue. Public-safety authorities’ statements and witness accounts provide some information about what happened. “The crowd for whatever reason began to push and surge towards the front of the stage, which caused the people in the front to be compressed — they were unable to escape that situation,” Houston fire chief Sam Peña told CNN.

Madeline Eskins, an ICU nurse who was at the festival, said the situation escalated as a countdown clock neared the moment when Scott would appear. She and her boyfriend arrived at the stage around 6:03 p.m. to land a spot near the front. About 30 minutes before Scott took the stage, the crowd got more and more packed. “All of a sudden, people come pressed up against each other, pushed forward and backward. As the timer got closer,” Eskins told CNN, “it got worse and worse.” Eskins added, “I had constant pressure on my chest … I was being squeezed … Right when he started performing his first song, I looked at my boyfriend and said, ‘We have to get out of here.’”

“Once he started, all hell broke loose. All of what is to be 50,000 people ran to the front, compressing everyone together with the little air available,” another concertgoer, Alexis Guavin, told CNN. “Luckily, I have mosh pit experience and am six feet tall so I could at least put my head up to breathe, but others [were] not so fortunate.”

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Finner provided a few more details. He said that there were two mosh pits “directly in front of the stage.”

Could people escape?

Some people in the audience said concertgoers couldn’t get out of the packed crowd when things started to go awry. Eskins recalled that she and her boyfriend couldn’t quickly leave the area. “I just remember looking up, passing out, and then I was in and out for a little while,” she remarked. “I didn’t see anything, but I could kind of feel what was going on. Someone pulled me over a fence, and then I passed out again.”

According to the Associated Press, some concertgoers said that barricades near the stage, meant to divide different types of ticket holders, kept attendees from escaping. Billy Nasser, who was at the show, said there was an area formed by one of these stage barricades that was like a closet. Nasser reportedly said that people were thrown into the closetlike zone and that the door was closed. Joshua Robinson told the AP that the barricades created a space that was “just way too small and compact” for all the people there.

Authorities have claimed that the venue met inspectors’ criteria for safe entry and exit. Peña claimed that the venue could have handled 200,000 people under city fire codes. Authorities limited that number to 50,000 for the performance. (According to reports, 100,000 tickets went on sale for this year’s event; it’s unclear how many people were at the venue at the time of the incident given that some non–ticket holders had breached barriers earlier in the day.) Officials said that safety precautions had been taken, claiming, “We had inspectors to ensure that the means of egress, the doors in and out of that venue, were maintained open and unobstructed.” They also claimed, “These injuries did not occur as people would try to exit the venue. And that was evident by the fact that once the event was terminated, [it] was cleared out within the hour … What we’re looking into is what caused the crowd surge.”

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