Amy Harris

Travis Scott performs on day one of the Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Houston.

Brooke Edgington , True Crime Writer

At least eight people were killed and dozens more were injured at a concert in Houston after a large crowd began pushing toward the front of the stage during a performance by hometown rapper, Travis Scott. The concert was part of the Astroworld music festival, a two-day event that began on Friday. About 50,000 people assembled there on Friday night when the injuries occurred, according to the Houston Fire Department. It appeared to be one of the deadliest crowd control disasters at a concert in the United States since the 1979 crush outside the doors of a show by The Who in Cincinnati that left 11 people dead and stunned the nation.

It was still unclear what prompted the crowd to surge forward, but witnesses described a chaotic scene before and during the concert, with many people in the back trying to rush to the front. One concertgoer, Neema Djavadzaden, said the event was “hectic from the beginning.” “I got there around 3 and saw people already struggling to stand straight. There was a lot of mob mentality going on, people willing to do whatever to be in line merch, food, shows, you name it. A lot of fights broke out throughout the day,” she said. The crush of the crowd was so intense that it left no room to move, some attendees said. Videos posted by concertgoers on social media showed a chaotic scene near the stage, with some people in the crowd pleading for help and others unaware of any serious problem.

In one video, which was posted on YouTube but has since been removed, Travis Scott claimed to have told the crowd, “I want to see some rages. Who wants to rage?” Moments later, he was heard saying, “There’s an ambulance in the crowd, whoa, whoa, whoa” supposedly trying to calm the commotion. For several seconds, there was no music. Scott looked towards the crowd, and the red and blue lights of an ambulance could be seen amid the sea of people. Then, Scott said, “If everybody is good, put a middle finger up in the sky.” As the music resumed, Scott urged the crowd to make the “ground shake.” The concert continued for about another 30 minutes and then ended with Scott waving to the crowd and jogging offstage as he said, “I love y’all. Make it home safe. Good night!”

The crowd was young. Eight people, ranging from 14 to 27, with one age unknown, died. Hundreds of people were injured, including a 10-year-old who was taken to a hospital.

Scott posted a video story on his Instagram account. “I’m honestly just devastated, and I could never imagine anything like this just happening,” Scott said, rubbing his forehead in a distraught manner. “I’m going to do everything I can to keep you guys updated and just keep you guys informed of what’s going on. Love you all.”