by Kaiwen Zhang
Going to a music festival with friends is supposed to be a fun, safe and electrifying experience. But at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Music Festival Friday night, eight people died and hundreds were injured in a crowd surge.
That night turned into a nightmare really quickly, as fans started trampling each other and forming mosh pits, crushing many people on the ground and against the stage. It’s unclear exactly how this transpired, but a variety of factors including the concert being understaffed, the negligence of the staff and the lack of rules being set in place for concert-goers could all have caused this preventable tragedy, according to the Independent.
A video filmed by a concertgoer circulating on social media shows a woman who climbed up to a cameraman on a platform, shouting “someone is dying in there,” but the cameraman ignored them and ushered them off the stage. The cameraman might have just been doing his job, but if he received reports of people in distress, he should have at least notified the proper authorities to help out. Anita Amper, one of the concertgoers, told CNN that she saw “a girl lying on the floor near me, and we had random people doing CPR on this girl. More than 20 minutes had passed before actual medical assistants came.”
This shows how understaffed and unprepared the concert venue was for a concert of this magnitude. Sold-out shows of more than 50,000 people should have been swarming with medical professionals and security guards to try to control the situation, but being understaffed, nobody could stop crowd surging forward which trampled and killed multiple people.
In addition, Travis Scott could have stopped the concert as soon as he saw people passing out in distress, but even after repeated attempts to get his attention, he only paused the concert a couple of times but continued performing. According to CNN, witnesses described calling out for help but being drowned out over the sound of the music.
In a video posted to his Instagram story, Scott said he had no idea of the severity of what was happening in the crowd. But even after a “mass casualty event” had officially been declared, Scott was still performing for 30 minutes before finally ending the show at around 10 p.m.
The eight deaths and hundreds of injuries could have been prevented by the venue being more prepared and giving employees better training for what to do in these situations. This event has now caused permanent scars for many people, and it changes the way people look at music festivals: are they really safe to go to?
This question remains unanswered as it all depends on the concert venue, promoters and organizers, but all venues should take into account what happened at Astroworld 2021, and make sure this type of situation never happens again.