Travis Scott took to social media to respond to the tragic events that took place in the audience during his Astroworld Festival performance on Friday night. The rapper appeared on Instagram to offer thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. . TMZ reports that the rapper was “unaware” of how serious the emergencies in the crowd were until after the show was over.
“I just want to send out prayers to the ones that was lost last night. We’re actually working right now to identify the families to assist them through this tough time,” he said. “My fans really mean the world to me, and I always want to leave them with a positive experience.”
He continued, “I’m honestly just devastated. I could never imagine anything like this happening.”
Police officials told The Houston Chronicle that around 9:38 p.m. the event promoter Live Nation agreed to end the show after multiple attendees collapsed in what was declared a “mass casualty.”
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said that there was a sufficient police presence to control the crowd of 50,000 and that fans storming the gates to the VIP area “wasn’t a major breach.” However, he also stated that police and Live Nation had to discuss how to safely end the show without inciting a riot.
Around 9:30 p.m. Travis paused to question an ambulance attempting to make its way through the crowd. One of the audience members who climbed a camera operator’s platform yelled that “people are f*cking dying! We’re trying to save somebody’s life! That’s somebody’s kid!”
Another video’s angle shows Travis on stage when he noticed the ambulance. “What the f*ck is that? Everybody put your middle finger in the sky!” He continues performing “Upper Echelon” after he appears to briefly speak to two men onstage.
“Two hands to the sky! Y’all know what you came here to do! I want to make this motherf*cking ground shake, goddamn it!”
Using the P.A. system or video boards to communicate emergency messages to the crowd may have been an option for the organizers, but that didn’t happen. The Houston Fire Department dispatched 16 units a few minutes before Travis pointed out emergencies in the audience himself.
“We need somebody to help. There is somebody passed out up here,” Scott said around 9:42 p.m.
The show not only continued, but Drake also came out to perform, causing the crowds to surge forward again. Around 10:08 they performed “Sicko Mode” together. The show ended with “Goosebumps” and fireworks around 10:15 p.m. while first responders were still trying to move limp bodies, more than half an hour after the event had become a “mass casualty.”
Houston and Harris County officials are investigating the planning of the festival and who is responsible for the tragic deaths and injuries.
“The families of those who died and everybody affected deserve answers as to what took place last night,” County Judge Lina Hidalgo said. “And that’s why I’m calling for an objective, independent investigation as to what went on and how it could have been prevented, or if this was a situation that was out of everybody’s hands.”
So far, John Hilgert, 14, Brianna Rodriguez, 16, Franco Patino, 21, and Rudy Pena have been identified among the eight confirmed deaths from Astroworld Fest. Medical examiners are still seeking the public’s help for other unidentified victims.
Hopefully, ongoing investigations from this horrific incident will prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.