At least eight people died last night at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas, after a crowd surge began pushing hundreds of people toward the front of the concert stage. Per The New York Times, local authorities have confirmed at least 8 deaths, 23 hospitalizations, and hundreds of treatments at an on-site field hospital. At least 11 of the hospitalizations were reportedly of people who were in cardiac arrest.
Organizers of the festival—which first began in 2018—issued a statement on Instagram four hours ago, saying “Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival family tonight,” and stating a desire to work with and support local authorities. Organizers also stated that the second night of the festival, scheduled for Saturday evening, was canceled.
NBC News reports that there were roughly 50,000 people in attendance at Houston’s NRG Park. Per a press conference held by the city’s fire chief last night, around 9:15 p.m., “the crowd began to compress toward the front of the stage,” with many reports of people being trampled or falling unconscious. The Houston Chronicle reports that Scott paused the performance several times during the night after seeing people near the stage in obvious distress.
The Houston Police Department stated at that same press conference that the causes of the crowd surge remain unclear. Video from the festival has begun to emerge online over the last 12 hours, showing scenes of unconscious bodies amidst crowds of dancing people. The Times quotes at least one 17-year-old attendee who described the event as being “like hell;” another noted that the event had been “hectic” since its start time earlier in the afternoon. Authorities at the press conference said that the Houston medical examiner is currently investigating to determine a cause of death for the multiple fatalities at the festival.
Astroworld is organized by LiveNation. Previous versions of the festival were held in 2018 and 2019.
Update, 11:30 a.m. CT, 11/6/21: Scott has now issued a statement on social media, writing that he is “absolutely devastated by what took place last night” and that his “prayers go out to the families and all those impacted” by last night’s events. He also reiterated “total support” for the Houston police as they investigate the incident.
Update, 1:53 p.m. CT, 11/6/21: Houston mayor Sylvester Turner gave a news conference this afternoon, confirming rumors that two of the people who died at Astroworld Friday night were minors. (The event was promoted as all-ages.) Turner revealed that a 14 and a 16-year-old were part of the eight people who have died. Others were 21, 23, and 27, with one victim’s age as yet unaccounted for.
Turner also stated that 13 people are still hospitalized in relation to the concert, 5 of whom were also underage.
Conversations and speculation about the causes of the crowd surge continue to run rampant online. Some (including a report from Consequence) have focused on past incidents in which Scott was seen to encourage fans to act unsafely during his shows, most notably during a Lollapalooza set in 2015. (Scott ultimately pulled the plug on last night’s show, although video has been circulating online of him continuing to perform even after people were removed from the venue in ambulances.) There have also been unofficial sources—most notably quoted in a report from The Hollywood Reporter—suggesting that authorities are investigating rumors of drug-spiking incidents that may have contributed to the fatal panic, although, again: The sheer number of people involved, and the high-emotion chaos of the event, are currently making it very difficult to filter hearsay from actual fact.