THE deaths of eight music fans, killed in a stampede at Travis Scott's Astroworld festival, have sparked an outpouring of grief and shock across the US.
Civil lawsuits have already been filed on behalf of victims, with lawyers arguing festival organizers failed to provide adequate security measures to prevent the stampedes.
Victims of the tragedy include 21-year-old student Axel Acosta and schoolboy John Hilgert, who was just 14.
Student Franco Patiño, 21, Danish Baig, 27, Brianna Rodriguez, 16, Jacob Jurinek, Madison Dubiski, 23, and Rudy Peña, 23, are also among those killed.
Here The Sun looks at concerns raised by officials prior to the festival and the handling of the incident in its aftermath.
WARNED BY COPS
Police said they spoke with Scott and his team over security concerns ahead of the festival.
Houston's police chief Troy Finner said: "I met with Travis Scott and his head of security for a few moments last Friday prior to the main event.
"I expressed my concerns regarding public safety and that in my 31 years of law enforcement experience I have never seen a time with more challenges facing citizens.
"I asked Travis Scott and his team to work with HPD for all events over the weekend and to be mindful of his team's social media messaging on any unscheduled events."
It is not clear if any action was taken as a result of the conversation or Scott's team's response to the police chief.
'AREAS OF CONCERN'
A leaked security plan raised fears about crowd safety ahead of the festival.
The plan – obtained by The New York Times – identified "key concerns."
It read: "Based on the site's layout and numerous past experiences, the potential for multiple alcohol/drug related incidents, possible evacuation needs, and the ever-present threat of a mass casualty situation are identified as key concerns."
Around 50,000 fans had shown up for the two-day event, which sold out within an hour of tickets going live in May this year.
Officials in Texas said the crowd began to "compress towards the front of the stage" at around 9.15pm, sparking panic.
Basil Baig, the brother of Danish Baig, 27, who died at the event, also claimed in a Facebook post the event was “managed poorly”.
MASS CASUALTY EVENT
Scott stayed on stage for more than 30 minutes after his Astroworld festival was declared a mass casualty incident, according to reports.
The rapper played long after 9:38pm – the time Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said the event was declared a "mass casualty".
The New York Times and The Houston Chronicle say Scott was still on stage at 10:15pm. Reuters report 10:10pm.
Scott had briefly stopped the show at 9:42pm, calling for help for a concertgoer who had passed out. He then resumed the show, Insider reports.
His girlfriend Kylie Jenner said they did not know what had happened while he performed.
She wrote: "I want to make it clear we weren't aware of any fatalities until the news came out after the show and in no world would have continued filming or performing."
There have been no arrests in connection with the incident.
FANS 'IGNORED' AFTER RUSH
Security fencing was knocked down earlier in the day by fans eager to get into the festival.
No injuries were reported from the incident but Scott himself once bragged about 500 fans breaking through barricades at a previous gig.
Footage posted online from the weekend show shows fans screaming for help, with one concert-goer yelling: "There is someone dead in there."
Other chant: "Stop the Show."
It is not clear if officials could hear those pleas.
The Sun reported over the weekend how video from Scott's performances throughout his career show him encouraging fans to leap from balconies or turning on venue security guards.
He has been arrested twice for particularly violent concerts, including once for inciting a riot as he urged fans to rush the stage as the crowds broke through barricades.
The 30-year-old musician pleaded guilty to public disorder charges at concerts in 2015 and 2018.
His own Netflix documentary Look Mom I Can Fly shows Scott whipping his fans into a frenzy and urging them to push past security at his shows.
The film captures his arrest during the Birdseye View tour in 2017 at the Walmart Music Pavilion in Rogers, Arkansas.
In 2015, Travis again was charged with disorderly conduct at Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago.
One security guard said he pulled out on the night of the concert because of lack of training.
Darius Williams told TMZ he "just knew that we were definitely understaffed in every sense of the word."
He added: "I just decided it would be best to just leave and just not work the festival altogether because I just had the feeling I would be in unsafe conditions."
Reality star Washington Ho from House of Ho was in the queue to get in and witnessed the gates getting stormed as he alleged police lost control of the crowds.
He said: "Everyone just started getting really anxious and angry and started pushing, shoving and then by the time me and my wife wanted to turn around the cops like pulled out their tasers."
The set timings have raised concerns for some experts, the BBC reports.
Scott was scheduled to perform with no other acts planned for other stages at the same time.
Organizers normally try to "spread the field" with other artists scheduled to over lap with headliners, the outlet adds.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The US Sun team?
Email us at [email protected] or call 212 416 4552.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheSunUS and follow us from our main Twitter account at @TheSunUS
Source: Read Full Article