Crowd Surges At Houston Music Festival, Killing at Least 8

Crowd Surges At Houston Music Festival, Killing at Least 8
HOUSTON (AP) — The crowd at a Houston music festival suddenly surged toward the stage during a performance by rapper Travis Scott, squeezing fans so tightly together that they could not breathe or move their arms and killing eight people in the chaos.

The pandemonium unfolded Friday evening at Astroworld, a sold-out, two-day event in NRG Park with an estimated 50,000 people in attendance. As a timer clicked down to the start of the performance, the crowd pushed forward.


“As soon as he jumped out on the stage, it was like an energy took over and everything went haywire,” concertgoer Niaara Goods said. “All of a sudden, your ribs are being crushed. You have someone’s arm in your neck. You’re trying to breathe, but you can’t.”


Goods said she was so desperate to get out that she bit a man on the shoulder to get him to move.


Section 1: Crowd surge at Houston Music Festival
“I got like halfway up the stairs and I started feeling the pressure on my chest, and I couldn’t breathe anymore,” Goods, 23, told The Associated Press in a text message while fleeing.


Those caught in the crowd also pushed past security guards who were trying to hold people back, said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.


“During one of the performers, we had an incident,” Acevedo said, without elaborating. “At this point, we do have a couple of dozen persons injured, some very critical.”


He said some victims were rushed to a nearby hospital but he did not know the seriousness of their injuries.


Hospital officials said their emergency rooms were overwhelmed with victims.


The mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, posted on his Twitter account that the musical festival was shutting down.

What causes a crowd to surge?
Crowds at sporting events can sometimes become unruly when people try to force their way onto the field. At least one person was arrested at Saturday’s soccer match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Portland Timbers after being hit with a seat, according to NBC Los Angeles.


In a 2015 incident that received widespread attention, a woman at a U2 concert at Glastonbury in Britain scaled a security fence and ran into the crowd. The singer Bono told the crowd that one woman had died and others were seriously injured, although police said they could not confirm that any had died.


The Seattle Times reported that a woman died in 2016 when she was crushed while trying to push her way onto a train carrying the Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers.

How does the type of music affect the crowd’s behavior?
“People go all out when they love something,” Goods said.


Houston Police said that amid the chaos some people grabbed at police officers’ gear and squad cars. And some people were crushed to death, Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said at a news conference.


Seven people were pronounced dead at the scene, with the other two died at a hospital, Carrillo said. Police said at least one person was arrested, but didn’t say if that person was linked to the alleged attack.


The dead included a 16-year-old boy and a 24-year-old woman. Sixteen other people were being treated at the hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening, officials said.


The concert’s headliner was rapper Travis Scott, whose real name is Jacques Webster.

The aftermath of the tragedy
Eight people were killed and more than a dozen others injured in the stampede of fans that took place on the festival’s second day. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said some of the dead were children but provided no details on the ages or the genders of the deceased.


The Harris County medical examiner’s office tweeted that one of the eight people who died was a person who was at the park attending the concert.


The concert’s headliner, 25-year-old Travis Scott, was not injured, according to a statement on the artist’s social media accounts.


“He and his team are fully cooperating with the authorities and law enforcement to identify any individuals who did not receive proper medical attention and have therefore passed away,” the statement read.

The Future of Music Festivals
Festival producer LiveNation, in a statement, said the festival had organized two stages and an open-air plaza with food and drinks available to attendees.


“Our hearts go out to the victims of last night’s tragic events at the Astroworld Festival in Houston,” the statement read. “We are doing everything we can to assist local authorities with the investigation and will continue to do so.”


The company canceled three additional days of concerts at the festival and said in a news release that it would make donations to families of those who died and those who were hospitalized.


Fourteen people remained hospitalized Saturday in serious or critical condition, said Dr. David Marshall, chief nursing officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch.


The park reopened Saturday.

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