Astroworld Tragedy: Hundreds Injured, More Than 100 Lawsuits, And 10 Deaths
A Houston music festival took a deadly turn when a crowd surge trampled hundreds of people during a performance by rapper Travis Scott on Nov. 5, 2021.
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Astroworld Music Festival to be canceled in 2020, the 2021 event, headlined by Travis Scott, was slated to be a two-day event with major hip-hop artists performing on two stages. Tragically, on the first night, a disastrous crowd crush occurred, resulting in 10 deaths, 11 simultaneous cardiac arrests, and the cancellation of the second night of the festival.
What went wrong
Crowd control already appeared to be lacking several hours before the music was set to start. Video captured by a Houston reporter showed people streaming through an unmanned checkpoint earlier in the afternoon, and logs from the Houston Fire Department apparently noted “dangerous crowd conditions” at one of the stages just before 5 p.m. Some estimates say as many as 5,000 people made it into the venue without being screened by security.
There were some 50,000 people at the sold-out festival, and a pre-med student told the Houston Chronicle that he felt the crowd’s energy shift as Scott began to perform. When Scott took the stage at 9 p.m., there had already been more than 200 people treated for injuries according to a report by CNN. As attendees rushed towards the stage, the volume of people knocked some concert-goers to the ground causing them to be trampled. Other people were compressed in the crowd and fell unconscious because they couldn’t breathe.
The event was deemed a mass casualty event just before 10 p.m., though Scott kept performing for more than 30 minutes following that declaration.
Nearly 2,400 people needed medical treatment following the crowd surge, NBC News reported. Ten people died as a result of their injuries, the youngest of whom was nine years old. That child, Ezra Blount, died on November 15 after more than a week in a coma.
More than 100 civil lawsuits have been filed in Harris County, Texas civil court seeking compensation for mental and physical injuries sustained that night.
Scott said through his attorneys that he had no idea about the gravity of the situation as he performed that night, though Scott has previously faced criminal charges for encouraging his audience to defy security personnel at his shows.
In 2015, Scott pleaded guilty to reckless conduct after encouraging fans at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago to jump barricades. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after he reportedly told his fans to rush the stage. At the 2019 Astroworld Music Festival, three people were treated for injuries after the crowd jumped the barricades and began streaming into the park.
In October 2022, Scott privately settled the first of many Astroworld lawsuits with the family of victim Axel Acosta.
The Astroworld Victims
Danish Baig - 27
Madison Dubiski - 23
Rudy Peña - 23
Bharti Shahani - 22
Axel Acosta - 21
Franco Patino - 21
Jacob E. Jurinek - 20
Brianna Rodriguez - 16
John Hilgert - 14
Ezra Blount - 9