At least 10 people were left dead and hundreds of others injured after a crowd surge at the Travis Scott Astroworld Festival in Houston on Friday, November 5th.
“It’s like drowning in an ocean,” was how one festival-goer described the crowd compression near the front of the stage that caused Friday night’s tragic outcome.
A majority of the injuries involved crushing and suffocation due to the tightly packed audience, as there were more than 50,000 in attendance. Spectators described unconscious people being lifted over barriers so they could receive medical assistance.
Astroworld previously had a similar incident in 2019 involving crowd control and breaching of barricades. Unfortunately, the increase in preventative measures was not sufficient, resulting in fatalities.
Below is the latest report from investigators and six facts we know so far:
#1 What Caused the “Panic”?
Multiple eyewitness reports and videos surfacing online show that Travis Scott was playing his set and began to see unconscious individuals being carried away from the stage area. After stopping his show, the crowd began to run towards the exit. Doors meant for exiting the area were stated to be open and functioning; however, this remains under investigation.
Investigations are underway to determine whether any other factors incited the surge besides Scott taking the stage.
#2 How Many Festival Attendees Died?
Reports confirm that there were eight deaths that occurred at the venue. Since the night of the concert, two others died in the hospital bringing the death toll to ten. The ages of those who died are as follows:
- One is 9
- One is 14
- One is 16
- One is 20
- Two are 21
- Two are 23
- One is 22
- One is 27
Two high school students, a mechanical engineering student, and a man who was saving his fiancée from the crowd are among the ten people who died at the Astroworld Festival.
#3 How Many Were Injured?
25 were transported to the hospital by ambulance, with 13 remaining hospitalized. Reports state there are dozens who suffered cardiac events and hundreds with minor injuries that were treated on-site or at local medical centers.
Many of the injured victims were young, including a 10-year-old child. This begs the question as to whether such young people should have been allowed there, and whether there was anything that could have been done to protect the younger attendees.
For Astroworld owners and irresponsible artists, profit takes priority over people, and hype over human safety. The most powerful thing you can do now is hold them accountable.
#4 Is Anyone Missing?
No. The Houston Police Department has confirmed that all other attendees have been accounted for after the event.
#5 Has Anyone Been Arrested?
Yes. 25 people were arrested; 23 of the arrests were for trespassing. It is unclear if these individuals entered the festivals without tickets or credentials, or may have contributed to the panic.
#6 If I Was Injured or Related to Someone Who Died During the Event, What Can I Do?
First and foremost, seek ongoing medical attention if you are injured. Please cooperate with investigating authorities to help answer questions accurately and dispel any rumors that may not be true.
Accurate accounts will help prevent such a tragedy for future events. You may wish to seek counseling and bereavement services, which are highly encouraged to cope with emotional trauma and PTSD. Contact a lawyer who can help discuss your legal rights and next steps moving forward.
What Is a Mass Casualty Incident?
Authorities are classifying the 2021 Travis Scott Astroworld tragedy as a “mass casualty incident.” A mass casualty incident is one where emergency medical services, resources, personnel, and equipment become overwhelmed by the number of deaths and injuries.
In any mass casualty event, several factors will be examined closely in the investigations. In this particular incident, close attention will be paid to:
- What the intended security plan was and whether the permits issued to organizers were properly followed
- Whether the venue was properly staffed with enough security personnel to break up and monitor the crowds
- The effectiveness of safety barriers and whether they correctly directed the crowds or instead contributed to the crush of audience members
- Whether something incited the crowd besides Scott initially taking the stage
- What types of evidence will be yielded by video taken by the promoter Live Nation, as well as personal video clips from audience members
There are also concerns regarding the conduct of Travis Scott himself, and whether he:
- Incited the crowd—he has a history of encouraging misbehavior at his shows and has already been convicted twice of encouraging fans to rush the stage
- Should have stopped the show—he continued for 37 minutes after officials were declaring the event a mass casualty situation
- Instructed unticketed fans to bypass security and sneak into the show
A main task will be identifying which party or parties will be held liable for negligent conduct and violations. It is likely that several parties contributed to the overall dangers of the situation.
Legal action can help uncover various other factors that contribute to mass casualty situations and help improve concert safety standards.
Future Changes Sparked by Litigation
Crowd surges are not a new phenomenon. Also known as “human stampedes,” these types of mass-panic catastrophes have been happening for centuries—on bridges, in train stations, and at concert venues.
The danger of trampling injuries and crushing fatalities are part of the reason not all speech is free of legal consequence in the United States. If you falsely shout “fire!” in a crowded theater, you may be held liable for the panic you cause, and all the damages that result.
Because these surges are a known danger in crowded venues, and because Travis Scott specifically has been convicted more than once regarding the danger of inciting reckless behavior, a clear pattern emerges. For Astroworld owners and irresponsible artists, profit takes priority over people, and hype over human safety. The most powerful thing you can do now is hold them accountable.
If you were impacted by the Travis Scott/Astroworld tragedy, your decision to pursue legal action today could lead to:
- Increased personnel: An overabundance of security officers and medics instead of the bare minimum staff to save money.
- Structural guardrails: Secure barriers, clear signage for exits, and enough space per person for everyone to move and exit safely.
- Practiced procedures: The enemy of panic is procedure—making sure that there are plans in place in the event of fire, power outage, or attack/assault within a crowd helps prevent harm and save lives.
The law also has mechanisms for punishment. Even outside of criminal law, a judge has the option to assign “punitive” or punishment fees to wrongdoers in cases of recklessness. Since money appears to be the root of this particular evil, holding Travis Scott and Astroworld financially responsible may force the changes needed to improve future safety.
With your help, this could be the last time such a preventable tragedy occurs.
Do You Have Legal Questions About the Travis Scott Astroworld Incident?
At Pierce Skrabanek, we are actively investigating the underlying causes of this tragic incident. We are currently receiving calls for legal guidance to understand if the Astroworld tragedy could have been prevented by LiveNation, NRG Stadium, and Travis Scott’s production team. Lawsuits are already in progress as the investigation is active and ongoing.
If you have any questions, you are welcome to call us at (832) 690-7000 and speak with an attorney at no cost, and with no-obligation to file a lawsuit. Our Houston-based attorneys have represented families in more than 40 states, and acted as Co-Lead counsel for the 2017 MGM shooting tragedy in Las Vegas. We are currently representing 20 individuals in Astroworld lawsuits.