8 people who went to Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, TX on Friday, November 5th never came home. 8 families are left to grieve their loved ones and question the reason for this tragedy.
More than 300 others were treated for injuries caused by the chaos unleashed at the gates into the festival and later during an overwhelming crowd surge of more than 50,000 attendees as Scott took the stage. Although Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña warned that the death toll could rise as several people were in critical condition following the event, the current death toll remains at 8. All victims have been identified, but the exact causes of death remain unknown.
It is now being reported that 25 concertgoers were initially transported to the hospital on Friday, and as of late Sunday night, 13 remain hospitalized, 5 of whom are under the age of 18.
Rapper Travis Scott & Astroworld Organizers Ignored Red Flags
The concert continued as people screamed for help. Some even pled to cameramen and security guards to stop the music to no avail. Despite the police proclaiming a mass casualty event at 9:38 p.m. local time, just over 30 minutes after Scott started his set, the performance didn’t stop until 10:15 p.m., nearly 40 minutes later. The situation was exacerbated by the lack of preparation on the concert organizers’ part, between the limited number of water stations, staggering overcrowding issues in general admission areas, and the understaffed and under-resourced medical team.
“Some of these medical staff had little to no experience with CPR…The medical staff didn’t have the tools to do their jobs,” said an ICU nurse who attended Astroworld.
Astroworld organizers had reportedly planned for the possibility of a “mass casualty situation” months in advance, with protocols in place for such instances as riots, active shooters, and inclement weather. Medical response measures were even allegedly prepared. It’s unclear whether these security plans were followed by promoters; the event got out of control and the venue was clearly ill-prepared to address this preventable catastrophe.
This is not the first time that tragedy has struck an Astroworld event, nor is it the first time that Travis Scott has been involved in an event that ended in violence. These red flags, along with others that emerged earlier in the day as people stormed the security gates at the beginning of the festival, should have been enough of a warning sign that the venue needed to improve their security coverage and response. However, these concerns, just like the pleas to stop the show as people were dying, fell on deaf ears.
Families of Astroworld Victims Seek Justice
Ranging in age from 14 to 27, the victims of the crowd surge are remembered as vibrant young people with bright futures ahead of them. Now, their families and friends are left wondering what could have been—and can only ask who is responsible.
“We heard from Travis’ team,” said Sergio Gonzalez, who lost his 23-year-old brother-in-law during Friday night’s mass casualty event. “They’re trying to cover the medical and funeral costs. It’s not that we don’t need the money, but we want justice. I want my brother-in-law back. I want my loved one back.”
The community has rallied around the heartbroken families in memory of their loved ones, setting up GoFundMe pages for funeral expenses and honoring their lives with memorials.
Will Travis Scott & Live Nation Be Held Responsible?
Travis Scott has since canceled the second day of the Astroworld festival and has pulled out of his scheduled appearance at the Day N Vegas Festival on November 13th. Some Spotify users have encouraged others to join them in boycotting the artist’s music on the platform. Many hope that Spotify will take a similar approach to Fortnite; the game’s developers removed a Travis Scott emote that featured a snippet of one of his songs after several users demanded a refund.
In the wake of the Astroworld tragedy, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner shared the status of the authorities’ response: “This is now a criminal investigation that’s going to involve our homicide division as well as narcotics.”
At Arnold & Itkin LLP, our Astroworld injury attorneys are continuing to follow this investigation closely and are committed to helping those affected seek justice. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this tragic event.