HOUSTON — Concertgoers at Friday night’s deadly Astroworld music festival described a chaotic scene that led to eight people being killed at the two-day event in Houston.
More than two dozen people were taken to area hospitals and at least 300 people were treated at the scene of the concert, which featured rapper Travis Scott. Officials declared a “mass casualty event” outside NRG Park, the Houston Chronicle reported. The crowd surged toward the stage just after 9 p.m., overwhelming security forces, the newspaper reported.
“It was like hell,” Nick Johnson, 17, told The New York Times. “Everybody was just in the back, trying to rush to the front.”
Stephen Gutierrez, who attended the concert after traveling from New York, said he was in the middle of the turmoil.
“I witnessed someone unconscious, struggling to get him out, like his friends were trying to get him out and just people weren’t caring enough to make a path,” Gutierrez told KHOU. “I’m a 400-pound guy. I jumped in because that’s just my instinct, and I just made a path for him.”
Angel Colon from Orlando, Florida, and Kevin Rosario from Atlantic City, New Jersey, also attended the concert and were with Gutierrez at the show.
“In the front, there was a lot of jumping,” Colon told KHOU. “If you didn’t jump, you would fall and get trampled on, definitely. The crowd is pushing back and forth. If you were even a little tired, you were going to fall.”
“People don’t understand you have limits,” Rosario told the television station. “If you feel at one point, you see something that’s not right, you’re leaning down, don’t be Superman. Please just take it on yourself to live another day.”
Amy Harris, a photographer for The Associated Press, told Rolling Stone that she had safety concerns earlier in the day when hundreds of people scaled the barrier between the crowd and the photographers’ pit.
“I got crushed in the crowd between the barricade and the fence in the tunnel going out. I was very scared,” Harris told the magazine. “I got out. I texted the PR. I told them it was an unsafe situation and I wouldn’t be going back out. They made an alternate plan to enter and exit the opposite side of the stage all day.”
One concertgoer, Neema Djavadzadeh, called Friday’s event “really hectic from the beginning.”
“I got there around 3 and saw people already struggling to stand straight,” Djavadzadeh told the Times. “There was a lot of mob mentality going on, people willing to do whatever to be in line for merch, food, shows, you name it. A lot of fights broke out throughout the day.”
Scott, who was performing when the crowd surged forward, said he was “absolutely devastated” by what happened.
“My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival,” Scott said in a statement. “Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into this tragic loss of life.”
“Travis Scott, he took pauses to point at the crowd to say, like, ‘Go help them -- they’re passed out,’” Angel Rodriguez, a concertgoer, told the Times. “He did it like three times. He pointed to the area where it was and said for everybody in the area to go help them and bring them to the front.”
©2021 Cox Media Group