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Travis Scott, Drake, Astroworld Festival
via Instagram (@astroworldfest)

Travis Scott addresses Astroworld fatalities: ‘I’m absolutely devastated’

Eight people died and hundreds more were injured as the result of a crowd surge on the opening night of the Houston festival

On Friday night (November 5), Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival was called off following a fatal crowd surge that left eight attendees dead and injured hundreds more. The “mass casualty” incident occurred during Scott’s headline performance at the Houston, Texas event, and the rapper has since shared a statement, saying that he is “devastated” by the tragedy and is working with authorities on an investigation.

“I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night,” the artist wrote in a statement posted to Twitter November 6. “My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival.”

“Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life,” he adds, thanking emergency services for their response on the night. “I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need.”

Scott also shared a video message in the early hours of Sunday morning (November 7), via his Instagram stories. “We’re actually working right now to identify the families so we can help assist them during this tough time,” he says in the video. “My fans really mean the world to me and I always just want to leave them with a positive experience. Anytime I can make out anything that’s going on I stop the show, and help them get the help they need.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, Scott halted his 75-minute performance multiple times as he spotted fans in distress, asking security to help remove them from the crowd. Emergency vehicles also drove through the crowd, with one clip showing a fan jumping on top of a vehicle.

Sharing their experiences from the crowd, however, many attendees have criticised organisers and security for not listening to their pleas to stop the show. “People were begging the crew operating the stage lights and stuff around us to stop the concert and they wouldn’t,” says attendee and ICU nurse Madeline Eskins, who was taken to safety after she lost consciousness and later helped medics provide medical assistance. “I am so disappointed and sad.”

“During Travis Scott’s set there were multiple times when you could see emergency vehicles with their lights on going through the crowd,” adds Houston Chronicle music critic Joey Guerra, via BBC Radio 5 Live. “But they would cut through and the show would go on.”

Travis Scott himself did stop the show several times to point out people near the front who were in distress or needed help and he would get security to come and help them. I don’t think he was aware of the extent of what was going on.”

Speaking at a Houston press conference on Saturday, Mayor Sylvester Turner said that the festival incident was “tragic on many different levels”, confirming that multiple teenagers were counted among the eight people declared dead.

“This is a very, very active investigation and we will probably be at it for quite some time to determine what happened,” Turner added. “There are a lot of rumours on social media. Let me caution people not to buy into the rumours. Nothing is off the table (but) it is way too preliminary now to draw any conclusions.”

Ahead of Scott’s Astroworld performance, which also saw Drake join him onstage, hundreds of people rushed the perimeter fence for the venue, NRG Park, knocking down metal detectors and a security screening area. This mirrors a similar stampede at the 2019 iteration of the festival, which saw multiple fans hospitalised.

“I could just never imagine the severity of the situation,” Travis Scott says in his Instagram story on Friday’s fatalities. “We’ve been working closely with everyone to just try to get to the bottom of this… If you have any information, please contact your local authorities. I’m honestly just devastated and I could never imagine anything like this happening.”

Find Travis Scott’s most recent statement on Astroworld 2021, and the official statement from the festival, below.