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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1:09 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.

9:13 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Astroworld organizers thank police and fire departments "for their response and support"

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Keith Allen

Ambulances arrive on the scene after a stampede at the Astroworld Festival in Houston.
Ambulances arrive on the scene after a stampede at the Astroworld Festival in Houston. (KTRK)

Astroworld Festival organizers issued a statement via their Twitter account Saturday morning after at least eight people died and scores of others were injured after the crowd surged toward the stage at the Houston festival Friday night.

 “Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival family tonight- especially those we lost and their loved ones," the statement said. "We are focused on supporting local officials however we can. With that in mind, the festival will no longer be held on Saturday."

The statement continued: "As authorities mentioned in their press conference earlier, they are looking into the series of cardiac arrests that took place. If you have any relevant information on this, please reach out to @houstonpolice. Thank you to our partners at the Houston Police Department, Fire Department, and NRG Park for their response and support.”

Read the tweet:

9:23 a.m. ET, November 6, 2021

Houston mayor sends condolences to those killed, injured at Astroworld Festival

From CNN’s Claudia Dominguez

Sylvester Turner speaks during a news conference in Houston, Texas, in 2018.
Sylvester Turner speaks during a news conference in Houston, Texas, in 2018. (Larry W Smith/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner expressed his condolences to the families of those that died and were injured at the Astroworld Festival in a tweet early Saturday morning.

“The city of Houston extends our condolences to the loved ones of 8 people killed & several injured at #ASTROWORLDFest. Organizers held the event to bring people together for music, but it sadly ended in tragedy. Thanks to police, fire & other agencies that responded to assist,” the tweet said.

A total of 23 people were taken to area hospitals, with the youngest person injured in the incident just 10 years old, Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña told CNN Saturday morning.

Officials have canceled the second night of the concert Saturday.

Read the tweet: