We didn’t see it coming: a pandemonium in a pandemic, otherwise known as Astroworld 2021. During rapper Travis Scott’s sold-out music festival in Houston, two teenagers were among 8 victims who died after a crowd surge (that’s not even including the thirty others injured, with one 10-year old in critical condition). As IRL concerts have been reemering with teens flocking out of their homes and back to some semblance of normalcy, how did last Friday’s tragic events get so out of hand?
If the words “crowd surge” don’t mean anything to you, try visualizing a stampede or dogpile of 30 bodies (if you can) and consider that this isn’t the festival world’s first rodeo into such mayhem. In 1979, 11 people died scrambling to enter a concert by The Who. Those who get severely injured or die are often not even trampled, but rather squeezed so hard, they literally lose their ability to breathe. The magnitude can be so intense that it “bends steel.”
What we know and don’t know
Law enforcement is hard at work with TBDs looming on why the surge broke out in the first place. Was there an age requirement? And what explains the multiple instances where Narcan (an emergency treatment) was administered as a result of people falling unconscious? One potential narrative is that someone was injecting attendees with drugs. All that to say: the truth remains to be seen (though some say deaths were ‘preventable’).
What we do know with certainty is that two teen lives were lost. Families are mourning for John Hilgert (14yo) and Brianna Rodriguez (16 yo). #RIP.
Apparently, we all have a part to play in safety
If you’re biting your nails wondering whether to leave your kids unsupervised at these mega-events, let the experts weigh in. While the one-size-fits all doesn’t exist, these are some ways to keep our kids out of harm’s way in the future:
- Run a background check on the artist’s past performances for any red flags (pssss: Travis Scott was arrested in 2017 for encouraging fans to bypass security among other things…just saying).
- Make sure they have assigned seats and aren’t in the standing-room-only area where they’re susceptible to stampedes and surges.
- Establish a meeting point and exit strategy.
The lesson’s loud and clear. Let’s never take safety for granted. Ever.