Tragedy in Houston: Astroworld Festival
Updated: Nov 15, 2021
EDIT: As of November 15th, 2021 the death toll has risen to 10.
During the Astroworld Festival in Houston on November 5th, 8 attendees – the youngest being age 14 – were killed with around 25 more victims being treated at local hospitals for injuries.
Astroworld is a festival held annually at NRG Park. It was launched in 2018 by Travis Scott and promoters ScoreMore Shows and Live Nation. The concert on Friday started around 9 p.m. with about 500,000 people attending. According to Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena, the crowd began to compress towards the stage, causing panic and injuries. Around 9:30, a few people started to collapse . Attendees went to the producer and told him what was happening, and the show ended at 10:10.
Many of the concertgoers are describing the event and showing videos of Scott's performance while fans chant “Stop the show” in between songs. Along with this, they were climbing onto stage mid-set to tell his crew that there were casualties in the crowd, but the show continued.
25 people were taken to local hospitals by ambulance. 5 of those were younger than 18, and a 10-year-old who attended the concert remains in critical condition along with a 22-year-old woman. Some of the victims suffered cardiac arrest and originally police reported that one security guard was drugged; however, authorities investigated this claim and found that he was hit in the head, and not drugged.
As of this week, almost 60 lawsuits have been filed as police continue to investigate. Live Nation Entertainment and ScoreMore Holdings, the two concert production and entertainment companies that organized the events are being sued, as well as performers Travis Scott and Drake. The Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation is also included as a defendant in the lawsuits.
Recently, the family of Axel Acosta, one of the people who died in the crowd surge, came out to say they are joining a lawsuit with 35 total plaintiffs against the organizers. They’ll be represented by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is also representing a 21-year-old attendee who helped lift people from the floor amid the chaos, in another lawsuit. They are accusing the event’s organizers and Scott of negligence in providing medical equipment, crowd control, safety precautions, adequate hiring, and training of staff. A third Texas attorney, Thomas J. Henry, filed a lawsuit against Scott, Drake, Live Nation and NRG Stadium on behalf of one of the surviving victims following the tragedy.
Since the tragedy, Scott has issued two statements to firstly provide full funds and counseling services to ticket holders and to offer to pay for funeral services for the nine fans who died. As the Astroworld tragedy investigation continues, Scott’s brand as an unruly performer is now under heavy scrutiny in and out of the music industry.
Over the last few years, Travis Scott has become one of the music’s biggest brand ambassadors by partnerships with Nike, Anheuser-Busch, McDonald’s, and General Mills. Some of these brands are already starting to distance themselves including Epic Games [Fortnite] whom Scott had a partnership with. This week, the company removed the games’ Travis Scott music emote- the feature that allows gamers avatars to dance to specific songs.
This event is the deadliest at an American concert since the 2017 mass shooting at a county music festival in Las Vegas.