A crowd surging incident at Travis Scott’s Astroworld music festival on Friday night in Houston led to the deaths of eight attendees and left many others injured.
A criminal investigation is underway and a slew of lawsuits have been filed alleging that Scott, concert promoter Live Nation, organizer ScoreMore and others involved with the event were responsible for the deadly crowd surge.
Scott, an eight-time Grammy-nominated rapper and Houston native, released a statement expressing his sorrow over Friday’s events.
“I am absolutely devastated by what took place last night,” the rapper wrote on Twitter.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told CNN’s Pamela Brown on Sunday that his team met to begin reviewing what happened at the concert. The investigation “will take weeks, if not longer,” he said.
Here’s everything we know about how the music festival turned fatal and what happens next.
Travis Scott will no longer perform at Day N Vegas
Scott is out as one of the headliners of the Day N Vegas music festival this weekend, the festival announced Monday night.
“Travis Scott will no longer be performing at Day N Vegas,” the festival said in a statement shared to social media. “The security and safety of all attending Day N Vegas has been and is always top priority in our festival planning. We continue to work hand in hand with law enforcement, medical personnel and public safety agencies on our protocols for the weekend.”
Post Malone will step in for Scott on Saturday as the final performer of the night. The Day N Vegas festival takes place Friday through Sunday. Other performers include Roddy Ricch, Lil Baby and Don Toliver, all of whom also appeared at Astroworld.
“Please take care of yourself and each other,” the festival added. “Look forward to seeing you in a few days.”
Concertgoers file lawsuits against Travis Scott, Live Nation, more
As of Monday, several concertgoers have filed at least 17 lawsuits and Scott was named in at least 14 of the personal injury lawsuits filed in Harris County, Texas, by Astroworld attendees, alleging negligence and gross negligence. Each civil suit seeks over $1 million in damages and a jury trial.
“Tragically, due to Defendants’ motivation for profit at the expense of concertgoers’ health and safety, and due to their encouragement of violence, at least 8 people lost their lives and scores of others were injured at what was supposed to be a night of fun,” reads one of the complaints, filed on behalf of injured Astroworld attendee Manuel Souza.
Famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said he has filed on behalf of survivor Noah Gutierrez and expects to file on behalf of others soon. Gutierrez described a scene of “chaos and desperation,” Crump said.
“We are hearing horrific accounts of the terror and helplessness people experienced,” Crump said in a statement. “The horror of a crushing crowd and the awful trauma of watching people die while trying to save them.”
Lawsuits have also been filed on behalf of concert attendees Manuel Souza and Kristian Paredes.
“There is no excuse for the events that unfolded at NRG stadium on Friday night,” Paredes’ attorney Thomas J. Henry said in a news release. “There is every indication that the performers, organizers, and venue were not only aware of the hectic crowd but also that injuries and potential deaths may have occurred. Still, they decided to put profits over their attendees and allowed the deadly show to go on.”
Travis Scott issues refunds to attendees
Scott and festival organizers are issuing “full refunds” to all those who purchased tickets for Astroworld following the tragic turn of his Houston concert.
Scoremore added in its tweeted statement it will refund attendees and is “working on ways to support attendees, the families of victims, and staff, from providing mental health counseling to setting up a health fund to help with costs for medical expenses.”
Houston Police chief met with Scott privately before Astroworld
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner revealed Monday that he expressed “public safety concerns” directly to Scott during a “brief and respectable” meeting ahead of Astroworld on Friday.
“I met with Travis Scott and his head of security for a few moments last Friday prior to the main event,” Finner wrote in a statement shared on Twitter Monday.
“In my 31 years of law enforcement experience I have never seen a time with more challenges facing citizens of all ages, to include a global pandemic and social tension throughout the nation,” Finner said in the statement. Finner said he asked Scott to “work with HPD for all events over the weekend” and warned him to be “mindful of his team’s social media messaging.”
Finner noted that a “criminal investigation” is underway.
The Houston Police Department directed USA TODAY to the statement when asked for comment.
What happened at Astroworld 2021?
Houston authorities and witnesses described a crowd surge at the event that left eight dead and several others injured.
The surge began shortly after 9 p.m. around the time that Scott, a festival headliner and founder, took the stage. As a timer clicked down to start the rapper’s performance, concertgoers pushed toward the stage, crowding the stage and leaving little room to move. Around 50,000 people were in attendance.
Witnesses described a complete security collapse at the venue. The crowd was “out of control” before the show ever opened, said concertgoer Julius Tlacuapa.
Another witness, Reese Bludau, told CNN that the concert “was pure chaos.” He said his height allowed him to stand above the crowds and breathe fresh air, but shorter people would have been crushed and unable to breathe easily.
Who are the victims of incident?
Eight deaths were confirmed with victims ranging in age between 14 and 27. Twenty-five people were taken to a hospital, Turner said Saturday, and 13 remained there. They included a 10-year-old in critical condition, officials said.
The eight victims’ names have been released: Mirza Danish Baig, 27; Rodolfo Peña, 23; Madison Dubiski, 23; Axel Acosta Avila, 21; Franco Patino, 21; Jacob Jurinek, 20; Brianna Rodriguez, 16; and John Hilgert, 14.
Among the victims were an aspiring model (Peña), a man who died trying to save his fiancee (Baig), best friends (Acosta and Patino) and a girl who loved to dance (Rodriguez). Many of them were students at various high schools and universities.
Autopsies will be performed before the victims are released to their families, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said.
Astroworld victims:Those who died were teens, college students and one aspiring model
Travis Scott apology video: What did he say?
Scott first released a statement Saturday morning saying he was “devastated” by what occurred.
“My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival. Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life,” he said.
“I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need. Thank you Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their immediate response and support,” Scott added.
Later Saturday, Scott posted a distraught update on his Instagram Stories. “I just want to send out prayers to the ones that (were) lost last night. … You know my fans … really mean the world to me and I always just want to leave them with a positive experience and any time I can make out anything that’s going on, I stop the show and help them get the help they need.”
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Who is Travis Scott and what is the Astroworld Festival?
Scott launched the Astroworld festival in 2018, months after the release of his third studio album of the same name. Since then, the concert has occurred every year, except for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, at Houston’s NRG Park – the former location of Six Flags AstroWorld theme park.
His “Astroworld” album led Scott to receive multiple Grammy nominations, including best rap album and best rap song for his collaboration with Drake for “Sicko Mode.” He has been nominated eight times throughout his career.
Scott has a reputation of high-energy performances and rowdy crowds. He has been arrested at least two times – in 2015 and 2017 – for inciting riots and disorderly conduct at his shows. He pleaded guilty in both cases, the former resulting in a one-year probation and the latter he was ordered to pay court fees and restitution for two injured people.
Contributing: Jorge L. Ortiz, John Bacon, Celina Tebor, Elise Brisco, Hannah Yasharoff, Scott Gleeson, Charles Trepany