The Nightmare at Astroworld Festival

On Friday, November 5th, young Travis Scott fans filled the pit of NRG Park in Houston, Texas, where the Astroworld Festival was being held. Fans as young as 10 were eager to experience Astroworld. Their excitement and joy quickly turned into fright, disbelief, and panic.

At approximately 9 pm, Travis Scott took to the stage to perform. This is when a surge of Travis Scott fans started shoving and pushing their way toward the stage. I contacted Gaby Simeoni, who was a fan that attended this festival. She agreed to be interviewed via Instagram DM.

The first question I asked her was if she knew why people were passing out. Simeoni responded by saying “It was a super tight crowd. I couldn’t move, I am 4’10” so I was not able to breathe. I did see a lot of people drinking a lot and probably people who were full of drugs as well but a lot of people who were passing out were from either dehydration or lack of oxygen.” There was no space to move, she explained. Even people who had their hands up could no longer put them down.

She told me that she’s very familiar with concerts and went on to say that she loves going to concerts and being in pits and moshes, but that this experience was like nothing she had ever experienced before. Simeoni said “it felt like I was getting the air squeezed out of me at one point.” She even told me that once the music started playing there was barely any room to dance.

I then asked her how it had felt to be on the ground and if there were a lot of people lying on top of her. I also asked if when people noticed the opening of where everyone had fallen, if people started to rush towards that opening in hopes of getting closer. She explained that there were six to seven people lying on top of her. She then said that nobody could get closer as there was no room to. She even said that she couldn’t get off of the ground because of that.

In one of the videos that Simeoni had sent me you can hear her scream that she couldn’t feel her legs. In the video you can’t see a man that was trying to aid Simeoni, but he had heard her scream and tried to pick her back up. However, because of the tight crowd he was unable to bring her back on her feet. Eventually, her friend had to pull her out from under everyone by her leg. She told me that when her friend had pulled her she heard a pop in her leg. When going to the hospital later that day she discovered that she had pulled a tendon and is now on crutches. I asked if the injury was from the weight of the people on top of her or if it was from her friend pulling her. She explained that the tendon being strained was caused by the pull but also the weight caused a lot of trauma to the tissue around her knee. At this point, Simeoni is unsure if she will need surgery.

Gaby Simeoni’s video shows Simeoni under a pile of people who had fallen down during the performance. (Credit Gaby Simeoni)

After she was back upright, Simeoni said that her best friend helped her to a medic. The only way he could get her there was by telling people that her leg was broken or that she was about to throw up. Once she got to the side rail, someone on the other side helped her over. At that point Simeoni was unable to walk. Once she had gotten to a medic they had told her that she would have to wait until the concert was over to leave safely. However, there was still an hour and a half left of the concert. I asked her how long she had to wait until a medic checked her leg out or if they were able to check it out right away. She told me that the medic thought that her knee was dislocated. They then were able to put a splint on her knee.

Gaby Simeoni’s video shows Simeoni being pushed away from the festival in a wheelchair towards the medic tent. (Credit Gaby Simeoni)

I then proceeded to ask if the show was paused at any point. She explained that she wished that she would’ve been able to pay attention to that but she told me she was too focused on the pain. However, she did say that she remembers him stopping once and that it finished early.

Simeoni’s experience is truly heartbreaking. She is a concert goer who loves going to festivals and concerts, but this one horrific concert left her traumatized. While I was wrapping up my interview with her she told me that she hopes to be able to sleep tonight. My heart goes out to Simeoni, as well as all the families that lost their loved ones. A total of 10 people have died, and hundreds are being treated for injuries. The youngest concert goer that lost their life was only 9 years old.

As I dug further into what happened at this concert I discovered a young concert goer, who took to Instagram to share her story. She had also fallen and was stuck underneath a pile of other people, she managed to get out and get to someone who was working at the festival. This man was in charge of the camera during the concert. She explained to him multiple times that there were people dying in the pit and that the show needed to end. The cameraman completely ignored her. As he started moving the camera she shoved the camera to point it in the direction of where people were lying on top of each other. He angrily waved his hands at her and yelled that if she didn’t get off the platform that he was standing on, that he would push her off. This wasn’t a small platform, she explained that it was almost 15 feet high.

The lack of acknowledgement and complete disrespect of the staff working at Astroworld, as well as the lack of care on Scott’s side, is completely appalling. Even the lack of planning and safety is completely disgusting. There should always be a plan put in place for when something like this happens.

On November 6th, 2021, Scott took to his Instagram account and explained that he is devastated and could never imagine anything like this happening. He also said that he is working to identify the families in hopes of assisting them through this tough time. He even explained that anytime he can make out anything that’s going on during his concerts that he would stop the show. However, he didn’t understand the seriousness of what was actually going down when performing. He is currently working with the city of Houston to get to the bottom of what happened. 

However this “apology” feels a little off. Scott has been arrested multiple times for acting this way before. Both of these arrests were made over the accusation that Scott encouraged his fans to rush past security barriers. In 2017, Scott was arrested by police and was accused of inciting a riot at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion. He pleaded guilty to these charges in exchange for dropping more serious charges. Weeks later at a New York show, Scott encouraged fans on the second story balcony to drop down onto the stage. That encouragement changed the life of Kyle Greene, who was pushed from the balcony and dragged onto the stage while Scott was performing. This led to Greene being partially paralyzed.

Is this when Scott’s dangerous concerts end? Or will he pick it back up again? One thing is for sure, Scott, although he says he cares about his fans, clearly only cares about how serious his fans are about him and uses that to endanger many innocent lives. Travis Scott needs to be stopped, and needed to be stopped years ago.