‘It was shocking’: Astroworld concertgoers recount festival that turned deadly

Texas Politics

HOUSTON (Nexstar) — Friends Chase Maye and Josiah Orr traveled all the way to Texas from Pennsylvania to enjoy the Astroworld music festival after the pandemic stole their opportunity to see Travis Scott in 2020. They could have never predicted what would happen on night one.

“It was pure chaos,” Maye said. “I’ve been to a bunch of concerts, I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Maye said he was confused when he started seeing other fans surge toward the stage during a performance by rapper Travis Scott, who hosted and started the Astroworld Festival. At least eight people are dead and dozens more were injured in result of the chaos Friday night.

So far, local authorities have only identified the victim’s ages — ranging from 14-years-old to 27-years-old. One person’s age is unknown as of Saturday evening. A 10-year-old is in critical condition after the event, officials confirmed. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said 25 people were transported to the hospital, five of those people were under the age of 18. Some of them have been released, others are still in critical condition. Officials also said roughly 300 people were treated by a third party medical vendor on site throughout the day. 

Maye was one of the dozens who had to be treated on sight at the concert. He says he was not under the influence but believes he passed out from dehydration and stress, coming into consciousness in a tent on site.

“It was like elbows and your back, couldn’t move it at all, chest to chest with everyone,” Maye said. “I even tried getting out and I just kind of was like, ‘I’m gonna pass out, I’m gonna pass out.'”

Event organizers did have medical teams at the venue but once the crowd surge began, those teams were “quickly overwhelmed,” according to Houston fire chief Samuel Peña.

“The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries,” Peña said during a news conference Friday night. “People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.”

Maye and Orr described themselves as regular concertgoers, acknowledging fans can get rowdy during performances. However, they said they’ve never seen anything like this before.

“It shoudn’t have happened. Nobody should die,” Orr said. “It’s hard to point the finger.”

Houston officials said “no stone will go unturned” in the ongoing investigation. Houston Police Chief Troy Finner urged people to avoid jumping to conclusions about what caused the surge. Authorities said the investigation could will take weeks, possibly even months. 

“I think it’s very important that none of us speculate. Nobody has all the answers tonight,” Finner said.

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