What We Know About Astroworld


The tragedy of the Astroworld Music Festival has left the nation angered, grieving, and searching for answers. As Travis Scott, 30-year-old American rapper, took the stage on November 5th, 2021, concertgoers were pulled and pushed into a massive crowd surge, causing the deaths of 9 people and the injuries of several others. This event comes after years of concerns over the safety of mosh pits, amplified by the “rager” culture of Travis Scott concerts. 

Reports from attendees recall a rush towards the front of the mosh pit minutes before Scott took the stage at around 9 pm. Concertgoers lost their ability to breathe and move as they were dragged into the crowd crush. In a personal statement by Seanna Faith McCarthy, she recounts the beginning of the event: “The rush of people became tighter and tighter. Breathing became something only a few were capable of. The rest were crushed or unable to breathe in the thick, hot air.” As the crowd crush worsened around 9:30 pm, people fell unconscious, and 11 attendees fell into cardiac arrest. 

The Houston Police Department called the Astroworld event organizers to shut down around 9:38pm, calling the festival a mass casualty event. Still, the concert would continue to go on for 40 horrific minutes. Videos of the night show the crowd screaming for help in a panic, and even going as far as climbing onto stands and platforms to grab the attention of the event staff, to no avail. Once emergency aid arrived, the vehicles struggled to make their way through the crowd toward injured members in the audience. Scott finished his entire set at around 10:15pm. By this time, eight attendees had died on site, with two more attendees dying from their injuries in the days following, and over 300 others had been hospitalized.

Reports by the Houston Fire Department detail the hours preceding the performances. Anywhere from 3000 to 5000 attendees broke into the event over the course of nine breaches. Most notably, at around 2 pm, a stampede emerges as people break through the entry – an event mirroring a previous Astroworld concert in 2019, resulting in three hospitalizations. Videos of the 2021 stampede show attendees being trampled by other patrons, running from security, and clawing through the crowd to get to the venue. Around the time Scott took the stage, a paramedic team hired by the event noted that they had already treated close to 300 patients, and that 55,000 participants were at the event, 5,000 more than expected. 

Among the lives lost that night were Axel Acosta Avila (21), Danish Baig (27), Madison Dubiski (23),  John Hilgert (14), Brianna Rodriguez (16), Rodolfo Peña (23), and friends Franco Patiño (21) and Jacob Jurinke (20). Two victims have passed away since November 5th. The ninth victim was 22-year-old Bharti Shahani, who passed away on November 10th. Additionally, 9-year-old Ezra Blount was on life support after falling to the ground during the crowd crush. Ezra Blount died on November 14th. Scott plans to pay for all funeral costs for the ten lives lost at Astroworld.

Astroworld and it’s benefactors are now facing over 200 lawsuits from attendees and the families of the ten lost concertgoers, totaling $3 billion in damages. The latest and largest lawsuit thus far was filed by Attorney Thomas J. Henry on behalf of 282 plaintiffs, seeking $2 billion. In reference to their case, Henry says, “The defendants stood to make an exorbitant amount of money off of this event, and they still chose to cut corners, cut costs, and put attendees at risk.” 

Scott has been arrested twice in the past for concert-related negligence. In 2015 and 2017, Scott encouraged the crowd to jump over the barricades and rush the stage, the second time resulting in the injury of several attendees.  He was then charged with inciting a riot and endangering the welfare of a minor, and was found guilty for disorderly conduct. In May of 2019, Scott was sued by then 23-year-old Kyle Green, who was pushed off a third-floor balcony after Scott allegedly encouraged fans to jump, resulting in Green’s permanent paralysis. 

The shock of that night has begun talks about what we can do to increase the safety of concerts in the future. While many people believe that organizers like Live Nation should have done more preparation in the days before the show, the public is still pondering whether performers like Scott should take responsibility for incidents like this. Time will tell what effect this incident will have on live performances and music culture in the future. Until then, we can remember the ones we’ve lost and do our part to ensure a tragedy like this will never happen again.