Astroworld Tragedy: For THS students, concert turned into a nightmare


Astroworld Music Festival

The concert poster for Astroworld.

Carly Beleau, Editor-in-Chief

When most people think of PTSD, they wouldn’t typically think of concerts, but in light of recent events there is a new definition of trauma.

Many Tomball High School students are still in shock from the damaging experience that unfolded in front of them at the Astroworld Music Festival in Houston. With the death toll most recently hitting ten, and the youngest known victim being 9 years old, the festival is making headlines for it’s poor planning and crowd control.

Thankfully, the few Tomball students who attended the event escaped uninjured and were willing to recap their perspective.

“The bad stuff didn’t actually start at Travis Scott’s set, it started a lot earlier at Don Tolivar,” said Kara Black, a senior. “I was in the front row next to the barricade, it was so squished to a point where my ribs were being crushed; I have bruises all over my body.”

Like other witnesses, Kara said that the crowd pleaded with staff and fellow concertgoers to help those who were injured.

“We were begging people to move and they just didn’t care and because we were all so crushed, there was no getting out of it,” she said. “My boyfriend, who was with me, almost passed out and security was not letting him out of the crowd. He was begging for help and security looked at him and said ‘I’m sorry but we can’t help you’ so the people had to have him jump over the barricade.

“I was crying, I couldn’t breathe, and I was having a panic attack. Then we went to Travis Scott and about after two songs stampedes of hundreds of people start running from the front to the back and they’re carrying these bodies. At the time I would have never thought that anyone was dead, but when we found out people died it makes me wonder if the people I saw were dead.”

Kara remembers hearing from friends that if you fell, people would just step over you.

“There were bodies all over the ground,” she said. “It was all terrifying.”

Senior Matthew Hudson said he saw people passing out and getting stepped on.

“So I saw a lot of people pass out from dehydration. People would pass out and they would get trampled and jumped on,” he said. “The security would try to get to them but the crowd was just too compact, so the only way out was if the fans noticed and tried to pick them up and get them out.

“I saw a lot of people get stepped on, I even stepped on someone. As we were walking out I saw someone getting CPR performed on them and that’s when I realized that it was actually pretty bad.”

According to one medical worker who was working the concert, who asked to remain anonymous, part of the problem was that the crowd was much larger than expected.

“Reports of several people down at a gate with reports that these people were trampled as people rushed the gates to get in,” he said. “And mind you this was still seven or eight in the morning. At the beginning there were 50,000 tickets sold but by the late afternoon there were hundreds and hundreds more.

“People were rushing gates; there was no order. It was chaotic. And unfortunately, at this point, there was nothing law enforcement or security could do.”

Things only got worse from there.

“Travis Scott took the stage and that’s when everything went really bad,” said the EMT. “Within minutes we were getting reports over multiple radio channels saying people were dying, people couldn’t breathe, people were being thrown over barricades, all these things. Unfortunately there was no way for us to get to them.

“By the end of it we had 11 cardiac arrests happening at the same time, and most of these patients were kids.”

Junior Regina Castellanos said she was having fun, but thought the concert was badly organized or policed.

“There were a lot of people doing drugs and I saw someone pass out,” she said. “The medical staff was good but there were just so many people. The lack of space felt very dangerous.”

Others in the crowd rushed to help those in need.

“I remember seeing this one girl come to the middle of the moshpit and she had this whistle,” said senior Kydrick Davis. “She was blowing it and yelling that she needed help, so me and three other people ran over to help her. We ended up having to carry her out of the crowd, and it was pretty hard to stay on my feet.”

Others noted that security seemed overwhelmed, and some appeared to just give up.

“There were way too many people there and not enough security,” senior Koen Roach said. “Security guards were even quitting on the spot and just leaving because they couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t get any merch because people were picking up the barriers and throwing them so they shut down the merch line.”

In the end, people pushing to get closer to the stage were up against people pushing to escape the crush, with many caught in the middle.

“People started to fall and once they were on the ground more and more people started to pile up,” Koen said. “I almost got trampled like everyone else. I turned around and they were giving this dude CPR and circling around him. They were calling for security but with the music no one could hear.

“They were also trying to wave to Travis to get him to stop but he didn’t notice. And then Goosebumps came on and it just got really bad after that.”