Family and friends paid tribute to those who died following a wave of crowds at rapper Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas.
At least eight people were killed and hundreds injured during the musical event, which is now being investigated by the police.
Scott said he is working to help the families of “the ones who got lost” after the crowd came forward while he was on stage on Friday night.
Most of the victims were young, with the youngest said to be only 14 years old.
The family of one of the victims, 16-year-old Brianna Rodriguez, spoke of their “deep sadness” and claimed that the passionate dancer was “dancing towards the pearly gates of heaven”.
Previously, Houston police said their crush investigation would include examining reports that someone in the public had injected drugs into people.
The wave began around 9:15 pm on Friday (02:15 GMT on Saturday) when panic erupted as the crowd approached the front of the stage during the rapper’s title set.
As the mob began to cause injuries to people, panic escalated and casualties quickly overwhelmed rescuers on the spot, officials said. About 300 people were treated for injuries such as cuts and bruises.
Families pay homage
On Sunday, GoFund Me pages and emotional social media tributes to those who died were widely shared online.
Danish Baig he was 27 years old. His brother Basil Mirza Baig posted on Facebook that he was killed while trying to save another relative in the crush. “His smile would light up a room,” he wrote.
Rudy Peña, from Laredo, Texas, who also died in the tragedy. His age has not yet been confirmed. His sister told the Laredo Morning Times that he was “the sweetest, friendliest, most outgoing person, had a lot of friends because he was always there for everyone … he was a huge Travis fan, he loved his music”.
Franco Patino, 21, was an engineering student at Dayton University. His university confirmed his death to the local TV station WHIO. He was also a member of the Alpha Psi Lambda fraternity and completed an internship in Mason, Ohio.
Brianna Rodriguez, 16, was a junior at Heights High School in Houston. “Dancing was her passion and now she is dancing towards the pearly gates of heaven”, his family wrote on Facebook.
On Saturday, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said investigations into the tragedy will include homicide and narcotics divisions. The teams will review videos of the scene to explore the cause of the wave and what prevented people from escaping.
Several concert goers had to be resuscitated with anti-overdose drugs, including a security officer who police said appeared to have an injection mark.
“We have a report from a security officer … who was reaching out to hold or grab a citizen and felt a sting in his neck,” Chief Finner said.
“He passed out when he was examined,” he added. “He was resuscitated and the medical staff noticed a sting-like sting that you would get if someone were trying to inject themselves.”
In his first Twitter statement since the event, Travis Scott thanked the police and emergency services as well he said he was “committed to working with the Houston community to care for and support families in need”.
He later posted a video message on Instagram, in which he encouraged anyone with information about the incident to contact the authorities.
Scott, whose real name is Jacques Webster, made his big breakthrough in 2013 and has ever since had eight Grammy Award nominations.
He has a son – and another on the way – with socialite Kylie Jenner, who was among the 50,000 people at the festival.
He posted on Instagram that they were “broken and devastated”.
“I want to make it clear that we were not aware of any fatalities until the news came out after the show and in no world would we continue to film or perform,” he wrote.
In 2018, he pleaded guilty to a public disorder charge after being accused of encouraging people to run to the stage at a concert in the U.S. state of Arkansas.
According to a local newspaper, Travis Scott also paid nearly $ 7,000 (£ 5,186) to two people who said they were injured at the event.
The sense of belonging has become deadly
Angelica Casas, BBC News, Houston
The night was not supposed to end the way it did. Today, the streets surrounding the Astroworld festival area are still mostly closed and the venue is nearly empty except for staff and a strong police presence.
Edward, a 25-year-old Houston native and longtime Travis Scott fan, attended Friday’s performances and both previous Astroworld festivals.
He was right in the crowd when, he says, things started to go wrong. As the wave worsened within minutes, desperate concert-goers tried to escape, pushing and pulling.
“I personally had a girlfriend who grabbed me and held me tight around the waist,” he said. “I had to calm her down because she literally thought she was going to die.”
Edward says he made a protective circle with his arms around her so she could catch her breath. He was able to pull her out of the crowd and help her escape. As he walked out, he saw unconscious people around him, some who were already receiving CPR.
Another attendee, Andy Pacheco, filmed the moment when concert-goer Seanna Faith, in a desperate plea for help, stepped onto a platform where a cameraman was stationed to ask him to do something to increase the crowd. He wanted the cameraman to call the police or doctors. But his request for help was in vain.
Ms. Faith later wrote online that she had just escaped a “sinkhole” of people as the crowds became more intense.
She managed to get herself and a friend out and was trying to get help for others.
People come to these festivals to escape reality and feel part of a musical community. On Friday night, that sense of belonging became deadly.
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