10 confirmed deaths from Astroworld festival, Houston Police still investigating cause


Courtesy of Emma Tran

Travis Scott’s stage at Astroworld in 2019. This year, around 50,000 were in the crowd to see Scott perform at the music festival in Houston, Texas.

Texas A&M University students Emma Tran and Carson Deering did not expect the crowds they saw when attending Astroworld in Houston, Texas a week ago.

“In the front, I was squished against everyone around me. Having been to festivals before, I knew that I had to put my head up to breathe,” Tran said. “During the concert, I fell back because it was too packed. It was still crazy. I kept getting hit in the face by people trying to mosh [and] sought refuge holding onto my boyfriend.”

Ten deaths were confirmed so far and over 300 injured after the crowd of an estimated 50,000 surged toward the front at the Astroworld Festival during Travis Scott’s set on Friday, Nov. 5. The cause of the incident remains under investigation by the Houston Police Department. 

The victims ranged from ages 9-27 and included Ezra Blount, 9; John Hilgert, 14; Brianna Rodriguez, 16; Jacob E. Jurinek, 20; Axel Acosta, 21; Franco Patino, 21; Bharti Shahani, 22; Madison Dubiski, 23; Rudy Peña, 23; and Danish Baig, 27. 

“I think the biggest problem this year was not splitting up the audience between two stages like most festivals do and like Astroworld has done in the past,” Tran said. “With only one performer at one stage with a 50,000 people crowd, it was definitely way too many people in one place.”

The crowd from Emma Tran and Carson Deering’s point of view around 6:30 p.m. hours before Travis Scott went on stage. (Courtesy of Emma Tran)

At around 9:30 p.m., an ambulance responded to the crowd, after first reports of injuries were made at the start of Scott’s set. The concert continued for 37 minutes after Houston police declared a mass casualty event at 9:38 p.m. Although the concert was stopped early at 10:10 p.m., emergency medical crews still had to make their way through the crowd.

Tran and Deering witnessed other concert goers being carried out, throwing up and even paramedics carrying a man on a stretcher towards the concert’s end. Deering notes that even hours before Scott performed, the crowd was too much for some people.

“An hour and a half or an hour before Travis even started, there were a ton of people, more towards the middle section. They were within like, 20, 30 feet of us, getting pulled out by security because they couldn’t handle how crowded it was,” Deering said. “But there were a lot of people getting carried out of the crowd. As soon as Travis Scott’s set started, that’s when all the chaos started and security just didn’t have a way to get out to them and help them.”

On Nov. 10, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner addressed the incident again through a livestream on the police department’s YouTube. Chief Finner said the investigation may take months to complete and did not comment on a timeline of the events, citing it is too early in the investigation.

The crowd waiting for Travis Scott’s set to begin. (Courtesy of Emma Tran)

The total number of lawsuits against the event’s organizer, Live Nation, Travis Scott, his record company and producers reached 108 on Friday.

Tran and Deering both agree that when attending concerts in the future, staying towards the left or right of the crowd rather than the center is a safer option. 

“Simply the fact that me and Emma, we’re both pretty small people, we’re definitely more vulnerable to a crowd surge and not getting the space we need and being crushed,” Deering said. “I’m really thankful that we lined up on the side of the stage, instead of the middle where all the disaster happened. That’s something I think I’m gonna keep on doing if I attend a big festival or concert like this.”

This is currently an ongoing investigation. Read more about Astroworld on Hilltop Views.