At least 8 dead and many injured at Astroworld Festival in Houston

By Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 6:02 AM ET, Mon November 8, 2021
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1:30 p.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Concert-goer during Scott's performance: "I truly thought that if I fell it would’ve been the end of me"

From CNN’s Maya Brown

What was meant to be a nice birthday gift turned out to be the exact opposite for Sarai Sierra.

Sierra attended the Astroworld Festival to celebrate her birthday with five friends and family, and vividly recalled the countdown clock to Travis Scott's performance on Friday night.

"It all started with the timer and the very odd and slightly scary music, noise that was being played on his stage," Sierra told CNN. "The noise sounded like something you could get hypnotized with and the countdown or timer would end and then start again."

When Scott appeared, the crowd began "raging," she said.

"I truly thought that if I fell it would’ve been the end of me. I spent at least 15 minutes just getting pushed around due to mosh pits or simply because people were 'raging,'" Sierra said. "I then saw a girl probably 17-18 getting carried out of the crowd who was passed out already. I saw a kid probably 14-15 who could not breathe, a girl who was probably 16 crying because she too could not breathe. In total, I saw about 20 people who could not breathe getting out of the crowd and I saw one person in front of me have a seizure."

Sierra added: "It felt like we were drowning in a pool filled of just people."

1:34 p.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Houston mayor: "We're looking at everything" to determine the cause of fatal Astroworld incident

From CNN’s Claudia Dominguez

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks with CNN on Saturday.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks with CNN on Saturday. (CNN)

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told CNN that authorities are looking into “everything” to find out what happened at the Astroworld Festival Friday night that left eight dead and dozens of others injured.

“We are certainly looking at all of the video footage, we are talking to witnesses, we are talking to event organizers,” Turner said. “This happened at one of the county facilities last night, so we’re looking at everything.”

Turner also pointed out that this is the first time this has happened in the 30 years that events have been held in City of Houston or Harris County facilities. 

“I’m not aware of a single person having died from one of the events, and this city is known for putting on big events, but we do want to do a thorough debriefing here, and look at every single thing,” Turner said.

Many of the injured continue to be treated, Turner said adding that many concert-goers have been reunited with their families.

Turner also said that there were some issues with “what was occurring inside the arena," but he did not specify what those issues were.

Turner expressed his condolences to the family members of those affected by the tragedy.

Some context: At least 50,000 people attended the festival. Authorities have canceled the second day of the event that was scheduled for Saturday night.

Read the mayor's statement:

12:35 p.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Travis Scott says he's "absolutely devastated" by Astroworld Festival incident

From CNN’s Keith Allen

Travis Scott performs at the Astroworld Music Festival on November 5, in Houston, Texas.
Travis Scott performs at the Astroworld Music Festival on November 5, in Houston, Texas. (Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

Houston rapper Travis Scott released his first statement on Friday’s incident at the Astroworld Festival where at least eight people died, and scores of others were injured, his words came via his verified Twitter account moments ago.

“I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night. My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival,” Scott writes.

“Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life,” he continues.

“I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need. Thank you to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their immediate response and support,” Scott says.

1:09 p.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Nurse recalls feeling "constant pressure" on her body from the crowds ahead of Scott's performance

Madeline Eskins speaks with CNN on Saturday.
Madeline Eskins speaks with CNN on Saturday. (CNN)

Madeline Eskins is an intensive care unit nurse who attended the Astroworld Festival Friday night who detailed the traumatic experience on Instagram.

In an interview with CNN, Eskins said she and her boyfriend had gotten to the stage where rapper Travis Scott was to perform three hours early so they could get a good spot.

"About 30 minutes before he performed, he started a timer on the big screen. And all of a sudden, people compressed up against each other and were pushing forward and backward," Eskins told CNN. "As the timer got closer to coming down to zero, it just -- it got worse and worse. And I looked at my boyfriend, Sam, and I told him, I was like, ‘We have to get out of here,’ because i just felt -- I was having constant pressure on my chest, constant pressure on my back. From the side, I was being squeezed. I tried to lift up my arms to make more room for myself; it wasn't working."

Things only got worse once Scott started performing, Eskins said.

“So right when he started performing his first song, I looked at my boyfriend and said, ‘We have to get out of here.’ He said, ‘I can't. We can’t.’ We couldn't. And then I just remember looking up and passing out," Eskins said. "And then I was in and out for a little while. I didn't see anything, but I could kind of feel what was going on. Someone pulled me over a fence and I was sat in a chair, and then I passed out again. And when I woke up, I was in a different area in a chair with a water bottle in my lap.”

Watch Eskins describe passing out during the concert:

1:32 p.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Astroworld concert-goer says the crowds "got worse and worse" as Travis Scott's performance went on

From CNN's Keith Allen and Rosa Flores

Nick Johnson and Angel Rodriguez speak with CNN on Saturday.
Nick Johnson and Angel Rodriguez speak with CNN on Saturday. (CNN)

Concert-goers Nick Johnson and Angel Rodriguez spoke with CNN about their experience last night at the Astroworld Festival in Houston where at least eight people died, and scores of others were injured when the crowd surged toward the stage during a performance by Houston rapper Travis Scott.

Johnson and Rodriguez said Scott stopped the show on at least three occasions to ask for help for stricken concertgoers, and that they attended the festival with six other friends, who were all able to make it out safely.

Johnson said the crowded atmosphere built up over a long period of time Friday night.

“It was going on for over two hours,” Johnson said. “It just got worse and worse, everyone's like, you just can't breathe, you just feel like there’s a weighted blanket on you.”

“Everyone just started pushing to the front,” Rodriguez said about his vantage point, approximately 50 feet from the stage at the time. “It was so hard to breathe up there, you just have to wait until it pushes back, because if it [the crowd] gets pushed forward, it’s likely going to get pushed back,” he continued.

“When you get pushed back, people always fall over,” Rodriguez said.

“It was so hard to move your arms and it was so hard to breathe, that I was there, like pushing whoever was in front of me just like to, get a breather, just to breathe,” he said.

 

11:28 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Listen to the music critic for Houston Chronicle describe the scene at the Astroworld Festival on Friday

Festival goers are seen exiting NRG Park on day one of the Astroworld Music Festival on Friday, November 5, in Houston.
Festival goers are seen exiting NRG Park on day one of the Astroworld Music Festival on Friday, November 5, in Houston. (Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

In his roughly 10 years of covering Houston's music scene, critic Joey Guerra had never witnessed something as tragic as what occurred late Friday night at the Astroworld Festival.

"I've never seen a show result in anything like this," Guerra told CNN over the phone Saturday morning.

Guerra had arrived at the festival in the early afternoon and throughout the day he saw a "normal festival atmosphere."

By the time Travis Scott took the stage later that night, Guerra was toward the back of the audience and saw small emergency vehicles cutting through the crowds but "for a festival, it didn't seem out of the ordinary."

"You see things like that a lot, people being carried out because of exhaustion or dehydration or things like that," Guerra said. "He did stop the show, I want to say, three or four times when he noticed people in distress."

Guerra said Scott played for about 75 minutes before the set was stopped.

Listen to Guerra's interview here or below:

11:19 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Texas governor calls Astroworld Festival incident "tragic"

From CNN’s Claudia Dominguez

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a meeting on October 27, in Houston, Texas.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a meeting on October 27, in Houston, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement Saturday on what he says is the “tragic” event at the Astroworld Festival that left eight dead and scores of others injured after concert-goers surged towards the stage while Houston’s Travis Scott was performing.

"What happened at Astroworld Festival last night was tragic, and our hearts are with those who lost their lives and those who were injured in the terrifying crowd surge," Abbott said. "Thank you to the first responders and good Samaritans who were on site and immediately tended to those who were injured in the crowd. The state of Texas is ready assist in the response, and I have directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to make state resources available to support the investigation."
9:00 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Video shows Travis Scott on stage as emergency vehicle approaches at Astroworld Festival

Video taken at the Astroworld Festival in Houston on Friday night shows rapper Travis Scott stop his show as an ambulance approaches the crowd.

See the moment Travis Scott notices an ambulance approach the crowd:

8:32 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Houston city officials start hotline to report missing people from Astroworld Festival

From CNN’s Keith Allen

The City of Houston’s Office of Emergency Management has established a hotline for those who have not been able to make contact with friends and family who attended Friday night’s Astroworld Festival where at least eight people died and others were injured when the crowd surged toward the stage.

Houston OEM is asking those searching for loved ones to call (832) 393-2991 or (832) 393-2990, the agency noted on Twitter.

The festival’s Saturday slate has been canceled. Houston OEM said in a separate tweet.