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Astroworld Festival tragedy: ten killed, attendee speaks on horrifying experience

HOUSTON, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 05: Fans during 2021 Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on November 05, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Erika Goldring/WireImage)

So far, ten people have lost their lives. Two high school students, an engineering student and a man who was trying to save his fiancée are among the Astroworld Festival victims. Additionally, on Monday, Nov. 15, a 9-year-old child died due to injuries, the youngest life lost so far. Hundreds of others are left injured.  

“She started crying and telling me she was suffocating, so I immediately screamed for security…”

Drake Ussery in an exlusive interview with The Stylus

 On Nov. 5, Travis Scott’s Astroworld Music Festival was held in Houston, Texas at NRG Park. The festival was sold out at 50,000 tickets with fans packed into the stage area. About two hours before the concert began, more fans broke through the barriers who did not have tickets.  

Scott’s concerts have a reputation for being dangerous. In 2015, he was sentenced to one year of court supervision after pleading guilty to reckless conduct charges for urging the crowd to surge the stage.  

 In 2017, Scott was arrested after he encouraged fans to bypass security and rush the stage.  

There is no evidence Scott enticed the crowd at the 2021 Astroworld Festival, however, there was a rush to the stage. People pushed closer to the stage which caused them to get physically crushed.   

Many concertgoers ultimately passed out from the lack of air and mobility in the stampede. Drake Ussery, 20, and his girlfriend Chloe Echols, 21, were two of the attendees. In an exclusive interview with The Stylus, Ussery said his experience at the concert was terrifying. 

“When Travis hopped on stage, the crowd started jumping pushing us even tighter together and not allowing my girlfriend to breathe,” Ussery said. “She started crying and trying to tell me she was suffocating. I immediately screamed for the security to pull us both out and for the crowd around us to give some leeway.” 

Once Ussery and his girlfriend were out of the front area, they realized just how bad things had gotten.   

“Security pulled us both out before anything tragic happened to her, and while they pulled me out my feet got stuck in between two people,” Ussery said. “We walked out past the media and through VIP, eventually watching the rest of the set from the back of the crowd, trying to enjoy as much as we could after a terrifying experience like that. We didn’t know about the tragedies until the day after when we got multiple texts asking us if we were okay from our family back home,” Ussery said.   

Another concert attendee, Seanna Faith, wrote in an Instagram post about her experience.    

“Within the first 30 seconds of the first song, people began to drown into other people,” Faith said. “The rush of people became tighter and tighter. The rest were crushed or unable to breathe in the thick, hot air. My friend began to gasp for breath, and she told me we needed to get out. We tried. There was nowhere to go,” Faith said. 

Some say there was a lack of security personnel at the festival. The security team hired was not prepared for the mass numbers of concertgoers, nor were they prepared for many to break into the event.   

Darius Williams, a security guard at the event, shared his beliefs in an interview with Revolt TV that the security team was inadequately trained and “unprepared.” 

According to Williams, he was hired by Contemporary Services Corporation to safeguard the event despite only having experience in retail and hospitality.   

“It felt like they just needed bodies, like they were hiring anyone who passed a background test,” Williams said.    

As fans entered the venue, Williams said he realized they were severely understaffed and unprepared for the chaos that would quickly ensue.   

“From what I saw, there was probably one security guard for every 500 to 1,000 people,” Williams said.   

Ussery also mentions the reaction of Travis Scott during the midst of the deathly chaos.   

“The only reactions we witnessed from Travis were the usual ones we saw in videos from other concerts, he would stop for a second and make everyone aware of one person to try to help, but then continue with his performance,” Ussery said.   

Many fans online are debating Travis Scott’s responsibility for the deaths and injuries that resulted from his show, many explaining he could have stopped it. 

Scott posted an apology video on Instagram after the tragedy. Lawsuit numbers against Scott and Live Nation Entertainment Inc are continuing to rise every day due to the civil damage done to those who survived in Houston. 

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