The tragic outcome of the Astroworld Festival in Houston injured hundreds and hospitalized 23 people with 11 critical and 8 dead during rapper Travis Scott’s set. The music festival was jam-packed as tickets were sold out; bringing in as many as 50,000 people standing close to each other inside the venue,
However, event officials said the crowd started to push towards the stage as Scott’s headlining set started. The crowd surge overwhelmed both the event staff and the medical personnel standing by at the NRG Park.
Crowd Management Expert Says The Astroworld Festival Crowd Surge was Preventable
As Houston officials are still trying to get answers on how and why the crowd surge took place, some are voicing opinion that the unfortunate incident could have been avoided.
Founder of consulting firm Crowd Management Strategies, Paul Wertheimer, called the tragic event a crowd crush, which was a very avertable crisis. Mr. Wertheimer is an expert who has been advocating crowd safety, ever since a similar incident happened in the December 1979 Who concert in Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati. The Who concert tragedy resulted in the death of 11 individuals who were crushed by people trying to enter the coliseum.
Wertheimer mentioned that standing room environments are the most hazardous and deadly way of holding concert events. The situation pushes people inside the venue to compete against each other in having the best spot at the music festival, which is the worst thing that could happen as it threatens crowd safety.
The 73-year old Mr. Wertheimer believes that during a crowd surge, people are only trying to save their life, which is a natural reaction toward self preservation. When there are thousands of people being crushed by crowds surging on all sides, it creates an environment where no one can have any control of the situation.