Rapper Travis Scott claims he is devastated by the deaths and injuries at his Astroworld festival and has promised “full support” to the police.
At least eight people died and dozens of people were injured after a wave of crowds on the opening night of the music event in Houston, Texas.
“My prayers go to the families of all those who were affected by what happened”, the rapper said in a Twitter statement.
“I am absolutely devastated by what happened last night,” he said.
Rescuers described how panic erupted after the crowd began to press towards the front of the stage during the rapper’s title set on Friday night.
As the crowds began to cause injuries to people, panic escalated and casualties quickly overwhelmed rescuers on the spot, officials said.
Eleven people were taken to hospital with cardiac arrest, eight of whom died. About 300 people were treated on Friday for injuries such as cuts and bruises.
In his first statement after the tragedy, the rapper thanked the police and emergency services and said he was “committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support families in need.”
About 50,000 people attended the two-day outdoor event, which has now been canceled.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Scott stopped several times during his performance when he noticed struggling fans near the front of the stage.
The rapper asked security to help them get out of the crowd. Emergency vehicles, flashing lights and alarms, cut through the crowd multiple times, the newspaper said.
The amateur concert video appears to show fans jumping into an emergency vehicle through the crowd as the performance continues on stage.
A reunification center has been set up at the Wyndham Houston Hotel for families who have not heard from loved ones at the festival.
Astroworld is an annual event that has been held in NRG Park since 2018, although it was put on hiatus last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Travis Scott, 29, made his big breakthrough in 2013 and has had it ever since eight Grammy Award nominations. He has a son with socialite celebrity Kylie Jenner, who also attended the concert.
Other acts scheduled at the festival over the weekend included rappers Chief Keef and 21 Savage and Australian rock act Tame Impala.
The sense of belonging has become deadly
Angelica Casas, BBC News, Houston
The night was not supposed to end as it did. Today, the streets surrounding the Astroworld festival area are still mostly closed and the venue is almost 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 got worse 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 get her out of the crowd and help her escape. As he walked out, he saw unconscious people around him, some 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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