Where Rap Music Meets Rage
On the evening of November 5th, estimates of over 50,000 people attended Astroworld Festival, a sold-out outdoor music event at NRG Park in Houston, TX. Footage posted earlier in the day when festival gates opened showed a stampede of concertgoers breaking down security checkpoints and gates, climbing over retaining fences, and fighting and trampling each other. Some early attendees were injured, others detained by local police. However, the afternoon paled in comparison to what would take place after nightfall. As bigger artists took to the stage, the barely benevolent mob took on new energy. Set lights and pyrotechnics created a dense smoke cloud around the performance area, causing many to fight for air. Barricades and makeshift parameters pressed people into each other like putty, turning the mob into an organism of sorts, that moved and swayed whether or not the parts were willing. And as more and more people packed towards the performance area at the behest of Travis Scott, many began to panic, and for good reason. There was no way out.
Attendees began losing consciousness, likely from a deadly combination of limited oxygen and hours upon hours of pounds of human pressure pressed against their persons. Concerned bystanders began yelling for help. However, Scott continued his set, instructing the crowd that they could either rage or head home. And so, rage they did. The mob made movement impossible. It was either sway or be swallowed, and even then, that wasn’t enough. People became irretrievable as Scott encouraged the mob to keep raging. Some were simply lost, trampled in the turmoil. Others were “crowd-surfed” to the VIP area where limited and poorly prepared event staff awaited. As the situation intensified, emergency services began attempting to drive through the crowds to retrieve unconscious attendees. Those efforts too proved futile.
Panicked Twitter users began to beg for help through their social media accounts. Some posting photos of…