More details have emerged in the Astroworld 2021 festival crowd crush that left ten dead, and injured over 300 festival attendees.
In an extensive feature from the Houston Chronicle, those with knowledge on the inner workings of the disastrous Travis Scott festival revealed that Harris County officials and the organizers behind the event expressed concern about staffing weeks before the event. The expected attendance at the Houston-based festival was said to be 50,000, and the promoter Scoremore Shows was expected to hire more security and medical staff.
Whether the company did, however, remains unclear, as last month the medic company hired for the festival said they were forced to deal with the “impossible feat” of treating 11 cardiac arrests simultaneously at one point.
The Chronicle investigation revealed that some security guards were hired the day before the event. 46-year-old Samuel Bush said that he was hired over text message, and when he turned up alongside over 100 other guards no one there was asked if they were licensed to work security.
As Deadline reported shortly after the festival, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said that ultimately police did not have authority to end the show. Police did ask promoters to bring an end to the show after several people collapsed, but in conflicting reports police allegedly left the decision to end the show in the hands of festival managers.
“Let’s say there’s a loud noise, or a scream; people can panic and rush. You can’t ultimately prevent that,” said former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who said police are expected to keep the peace at all public places in the city, per the city charter. “But once [the crush] happened, police had an absolute responsibility to take control of the situation and at the very least make sure rescue personnel could get where they needed to be and treat the injured.”
One of the most worrying revelations from the report details how the festival did not broadcast safety messages, even after it was declared a mass casualty event. The operations plan for the fest, however, detailed how the PA could be utilized in the event of an emergency. Travis Scott, according to his lawyer, was allegedly told by festival management to call an end to the show only for him to continue to perform for another 15 or so minutes.
Head over to Houston Chronicle to read the report in full.