8 Die at Rap Concert; Travis Scott and Drake Sued Over Astroworld Incident

By Alina Wang | November 8, 2021
Alina Wang writes China news for Vision Times.
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Travis Scott performs onstage during the third annual Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on November 05, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images)

A crowd surge at Houston’s Astroworld Festival on Friday turned deadly as eight people died and more than 300 were treated for sustained injuries at an onsite hospital. Twenty-five people are currently being treated at local hospitals, some of whom had entered cardiac arrest. 

The victims were identified as: John Hilgert, 14, Brianna Rodriguez, 16, Franco Patino, 21, Danish Brig, 27, Jacob Jurinek, 20 Rodolfo Peña, 23 and an unknown victim in their early 20s.

Approximately 50,000 people packed into NRG Park for local rapper turned international sensation Travis Scott’s highly anticipated concert. Fans traveled far and wide to attend the event, with some spending over $500 to nab a ticket. Amongst the concertgoers, many were only in elementary school.

The New York Times reported that Houston officials were worried about crowd control ahead of the concert, as energy had been building for months. Fans who were drawn to see Mr. Scott because of the lively atmosphere and by the exuberance of hearing live music again after the pandemic could create a potentially uncontrollable environment.

Houston police chief Troy Finner said he visited Mr. Scott in his trailer a day before the event to relay his concerns. Although dozens more officers and private staff were added to enhance security at the concert, it was all to no avail.

Concertgoers described the event as traumatizing, with many witnesses saying they saw lifeless bodies being trampled amidst the chaos. Those who survived had to fight their way out of the crowd as the music raged on.

‘This was not a concert, this was a fight for survival’

TK Tellez, who attended the concert with his girlfriend, described how they stood near the stage in hopes of getting a better view of the rapper when chaos ensued.

“The crowd became tighter and tighter, and at that point it was hard to breathe. When Travis came out performing his first song, I witnessed people passing out next to me,” Tellez, 20, told CNN.

“We were all screaming for help, and no one helped or heard us. It was horrifying. People were screaming for their lives, and they couldn’t get out. Nobody could move a muscle.”

More than 1 million people have posted about the terrifying ordeal on social media, with one concertgoer sharing her experience of being “crowd surfed to safety” after passing out in the dense crowd.

Now Travis Scott, fellow rapper Drake and entertainment company Live Nation have been hit with their first series of lawsuits, with plaintiff Manuel Souza claiming “defendants knew or should have known of Scott’s prior conduct in inciting mayhem and chaos at prior events.”

The lawsuit, filed in Harris county court in Houston on Saturday reportedly accuses the defendants of gross negligence, claiming the incident was a result of “a motivation for profit at the expense of concertgoers’ health and safety.” It also claims that fans begged security guards hired by Live Nation Entertainment for help, but were ignored, in what should have been a preventable tragedy.

Footage taken by concert attendees show Scott’s set lasted for about 70 minutes as fans’ desperate cries for help were drowned out in the loud music.

Scott claims he did not know the severity of his fans’ distress and would have stopped the concert immediately had he known about the situation that was unfolding.

“I am absolutely devastated by what took place last night,” the rapper wrote on Twitter. “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.”