The renowned Astroworld festival in Texas turned into a tragedy after at least 8 people died and hundreds were injured following an unstoppable stampede. Now, rapper Travis Scott and event organizers are facing lawsuits and investigations for what happened.
Such was the tragedy that first responders fell short of being able to help so many victims and injured; the disaster resulted in hundreds of injured people on the ground and dozens of them had to undergo resuscitation techniques (CPR).
Concertgoers described the event as traumatizing and many said they saw lifeless bodies trampled amidst the chaos as the music continued.
One of the hypotheses being bandied about is the possibility that someone started injecting drugs into the other spectators, a theory that has been circulating on social media and was mentioned last Saturday by Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.
Problems from the beginning
The deadly incident happened around 9:15 pm last Friday, November 5, when the crowd managed to sneak in and climb onto the stage, bypassing thousands of attendees. According to eyewitness testimonies, as the stampede began to cause injuries, the panic escalated.
Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena detailed that while he was at the venue he witnessed minor incidents; he pointed out to the press that from the moment the doors opened, people ran in stampede jumping over the metal detectors.
“I saw a couple of times people being taken out on stretchers. I’m not sure what the reasons were,” he said.
According to the Houston Chronicle newspaper, Travis Scott, founder of the festival, stopped his performance several times when he saw fans in danger in front of the stage; although he asked security members to take care, it was not enough to prevent the deaths. Organizers called off the concert due to the high number of injured people without knowing that it would turn into a deadly scenario.
Andy Pacheco, an attendee at the event, recorded the moment when a fan, Seanna Faith, in a desperate plea for help, climbed onto a platform where a cameraman was stationed to ask him to do something about the swelling crowd. She wanted the cameraman to call the police or medics. Faith later wrote on social media that she had just escaped a “sinkhole” of people as the overcrowding had become more intense.
“The crowd became tighter and tighter, and at that point, it was hard to breathe. When Travis came out performing his first song, I witnessed people passing out next to me,” Tellez, 20, told CNN.
Police in Houston, Texas, announced that they had opened a criminal investigation into the incident, and on Saturday, November 6, police chief Troy Finner said the investigation would include the homicide and narcotics divisions.
Authorities are investigating reports that a security officer allegedly received an injection in the neck while attempting to restrain a concertgoer and that there were several opioid overdoses at the concert.
Fire Chief Sam Pena detailed that medical personnel at the concert had to administer “several” doses of Naloxone (an antidote for opioid overdoses), but did not give an exact number.
Billy Nasser who works as a DJ, told CNN that he just wanted the music to stop while people continued to party without “paying attention to the bodies dropping behind them.”
“There weren’t enough security guards and there weren’t enough EMTs and people helping out the crowd. The paramedics couldn’t even reach the crowd,” he said.
Lawsuits against Scott and organizers
Kristian Paredes, a 23-year-old attendee, accused Scott of inciting “rioting and violence,” and claims the venue and entertainment company Live Nation failed to provide adequate medical and security services. The lawsuit seeks $1 million in damages.
“Many begged security guards hired by Live Nation Entertainment for help, but were ignored,” it adds.
Scott, Live Nation and concert promoter Scoremore are also named in another lawsuit seeking $1 million in damages for Manuel Souza, who — it states — suffered “serious bodily injuries when the uncontrolled crowd at the concert knocked him to the ground and trampled him.”
Similarly, prominent attorney Ben Crump announced Sunday that he was also representing other concertgoers.
Fox News also confirmed that Texas attorney Thomas J. Henry filed a lawsuit against artists Travis Scott and Drake; as well as Live Nation and NRG Stadium.
Astroworld is an annual event held at NGR Park in Houston since 2018, although last year it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Scott to pay for the funerals
In the wake of the tragedy, Travis Scott announced that he will cover all funeral costs for the eight victims who died at his Astroworld festival on Friday, according to a statement offered by a representative for the rapper.
Scott also announced that he will partner with BetterHelp to provide free mental health services to all those affected by the tragedy, according to the statement.
“Travis remains in active conversations with the city of Houston, law enforcement and local first responders to respectfully and appropriately connect with the individuals and families of those involved. These are the first of many steps Travis plans on taking as a part of his personal vow to assist those affected throughout their grieving and recovery process,” the statement said.