Tragedy Strikes at Travis Scott Astroworld Festival

Houston – Ten people confirmed dead with more suffering severe injuries after Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival at NRG Park.

Cody Wagner, Staff Writer

What was at first a night of energy, excitement and fulfillment soon turned into chaos, and ultimately tragedy. On Friday, Nov. 5, rap icon Travis Scott began his two-day Astroworld festival at NRG park in Houston, but in the middle of Scott’s set, at around 9:30 p.m.,a crowd of 50,000 concertgoers swarmed towards the front of the stage, trampling everything and everyone in their path. At 9:38p.m Drake joined Scott onstage amidst all the chaos and confusion that was boiling throughout the crowd. 

Ten people died. Those dead included 22-year-old Texas A&M student Bharti Shahan. Shahani attended the performance with her sister, Namrata Shahani, and cousin, Mohit Bellani. According to ABC13, Bellani stated.

“Once one person fell, people started toppling like dominos. It was like a sinkhole. People were falling on top of each other,” Bellani said. “There were like layers of bodies on the ground, like two people thick. We were fighting to come up to the top and breathe to stay alive.”

Bharti was not the only one whose life was tragically lost. The youngest to die was 9-year-old Ezra Blount. As well as two Illinois natives both from Naperville, who also died.

Blount’s father Treston spoke to ABC13  last week. He said he was holding Ezra on his shoulders as the countdown for Scott’s set to begin was in motion. The two were located in the back of the crowd because Treson thought that the area would be much calmer for the two to enjoy the concert. Once Scott took the stage “that’s when people started pushing.” Treston remembered losing consciousness, then his son as he was trampled over by thousands of attendees in a terrifying frenzy. Once the father regained consciousness he immediately searched for his boy and rushed to an on-site medical tent. After filing a police report, Teston received a message from an officer and a picture of Ezra. Treston immediately went to the hospital to find his son had major organ and brain damage and was on life support. 

Both Scott and Drake have expressed regrets and sympathy on their social media accounts “I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night,” Scott wrote. “My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival. Huston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life.”

“My heart is broken for the families and friends of those who lost their lives and for anyone who is suffering,” Drake said on Nov. 8, according to Pitchfork.

Scott also promised to give full refunds for the festival’s second-day cancellation and plans to cover the funeral costs for those whose lives were taken. But this did little to appease both fans and city officials alike, as both rappers, along with Live Nation’s promoter and organizer for the show, are currently being overwhelmed with dozens of lawsuits. According to CNN, At least 18 lawsuits had been filed in Harris County District Court in Texas related to the Astroworld tragedy.

Police continue to investigate the incident as they plan to uncover and examine all possible outcomes related to this tragedy. This includes the level of communication amongst emergency personnel, the plan for security and crowd control as well as Scott’s role in inciting or defusing any of the chaos.

In Aug. 2015, while performing at Lollapalooza,  Scott was charged with inciting a crowd to jump the barricades. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a fine. There were similar incidents in 2017 and 2015.

Police chief Troy Finner told CNN reporters during a press conference the “ultimate authority to end the show was with production and the entertainer, and that should be through communication with public city officials.” Below is a link to my own personal tips to maintaining a fun-filled, yet safe, festival experience for audiences who plan on attending any large or small-scale concerts. 

More will be posted following this story as it continues to break.