Ten dead and over 300 injured at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston


Wura Ogunnaike

Emilia Bordage (‘23) watches Travis Scott’s music video for “Sicko Mode”.

On Friday, November 5th, a violent crowd surge at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas resulted in the deaths of ten people and the injuries of hundreds more.

As of November 17th, the 10 victims are Danish Baig (27), Jacob Jurinek (20), Franco Patino (21), Axel Acosta (21), John Hilgert (14), Briana Rodriguez (16), Rodolfo Pena (23), Madison Dubiski (23), Bharti Shahani (22), and Ezra Blount (9).

Popular among many Webb students, Travis Scott’s tracks are often played at events like the Welcome Back Dance and homecoming. Mirroring numerous internet forums, the Webb community also differs in opinion about who is responsible for this horrific event.

“I think me and everyone else did not expect the concert to become that wild,” said Parker Tanyawong (‘24), a longtime Travis fan. “Being onstage with 58,000 fans, it must be pretty tough to spot any injured fans from that far. However, I feel like he should issue a more genuine public apology.”

Unlike Parker, many students feel that it was in fact Scott’s fault that the concert resulted in mania and casualties.

“It’s his event’s disorganization… I also think it’s probably the people who went in without a ticket, the people who hopped fences,” said Laura Li (‘22), whose favorite Travis song is “90210.” “I also think it was Travis. People were jumping on the stage and telling him to stop the show. But he told them that this is what they came here for and went on with his performance. Kylie [Jenner] posted on her story, but I think her message was ignorant and it was mainly for their image.”

Similarly, Jordan Granda (‘22) shares his thoughts on the safety precautions of the Astroworld Fest.

“Travis Scott’s Astroworld Fest has become synonymous with moshes in the past,” Jordan said. “With that being said, most artists, concerts, and venues would increase safety measures, like implement[ing] emergency vehicle lanes, a simple feature that almost every concert has.”

According to an Astroworld attendee, the festival seemed understaffed on security personnel, especially considering the partition breech in 2019. The first come, first-serve festival seating arrangement made moshing and overcrowding easy to occur. With a performer like Travis, the crowd was bound to get excited and out of control fast.

Travis Scott held the third iteration of Astroworld Music Festival, named after his 2018 album “Astroworld.” Astroworld 2021 had a new creative theme called “Open Your Eyes to a Whole New Universe” which was supposed to “bring back the beloved spirit and nostalgia of the legendary Astroworld that Scott visited as a child.”

Around 50,000 people attended the two-day music festival.

Prior to the event, organizers came up with two emergency plan documents covering protocol in case of extreme weather, active shooting, riots, and medical responses. According to the report, fences and barricades were stronger than they were in 2019, and security guards were given signs to check if an attendee was on the verge of needing medical care.

The medical plan included two emergency room physicians, six registered nurses, two paramedics, and nine emergency medical technicians. The main tent had 30 cots, and there were smaller tents stationed around the venue.

Despite all of the preparations, the number of people needing medical care overwhelmed the staff even before Scott began to perform. At about 8:15 p.m., staff claimed that they were unable to document patients because so many people needed help.

Many attendees needed naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Allegedly, people in the crowd were being stuck with needles and injected with an unknown substance. One of the victims included a security guard who lost consciousness while trying to aid someone else.

In a press conference held by Houston and Harris County leaders, Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Pena said the surge began at around 9:00 or 9:15 pm, when the crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage. HFD transported 17 people to hospitals, 11 of which were in cardiac arrest. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo confirmed that eight people were dead, including a ten year-old.
Those in attendance described people being crushed; they were not able to breathe, and saw others who collapsed getting trampled by the crowd. On Instagram, a user named @seannafaith described her experience in the crowd.

“I saw the cameraman, eyes glued to the stage, elevated on a platform. A platform that looked directly into the crowd. I climbed the ladder and pointed to the hole, telling him that people were dying. He told me to get off the platform and continued filming,” Seanna wrote. 

In a video, Seanna Faith and another man can be seen begging the cameraman for help, while he waves them off.  

“He became angry, he called someone else up…The other man said he would push me off the 15 feet platform with no sides if I didn’t get down.” 

More accounts from concertgoers paint a picture of the entire day. At the VIP security entrance, a stampede burst through the gates to get into the event. According to ABC 13 Houston reporter, Mycah Hatfield, people were trampled and only some were detained.  

Trending videos on Twitter show people jumping and dancing on top of security carts and the ambulance trying to get people to safety. One particularly disturbing video shows Travis Scott continuing to sing into the microphone, while staring at a lifeless body being carried away by a medic crew.  

Many on social media criticized Scott and his team’s handling of the event, and for not stopping the concert despite hundreds screaming for help.  

One user brought up his previous arrest at Lollapalooza for inciting crowds. 

Another pointed out that the ambulance in the crowd can be seen on Kylie Jenner’s Instagram story.  

In response to the violence that occurred at the event, Astroworld day two was cancelled. Travis Scott says he is “devasted” by what happened.  

Regardless of where the responsibility lies, the students agree that the concert causalities are devastating to the hip hop community and the fans who look up to Travis Scott. Concertgoers expected a night of music by their favorite performers but engaged in a fight for their lives. Our condolences go out to the lives lost and the hundreds of families affected by this tragedy.