'Very, very surprised': Triangle attendee of Astroworld concert speaks about deaths at venue

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The investigation into the deaths of eight concertgoers at the Astroworld music festival continues, as more lawsuits are filed in its aftermath.

Officials in Houston, where the event took place, said they voiced security concerns before the concert, which was headline by popular rapper Travis Scott.

Scott took the stage around 9 p.m. and about a half hour into his set, there were reports of people in the crowd falling and needing assistance. At 9:38 p.m., the Houston Fire Department declared a "mass casualty event," but Scott continued his performance for nearly 40 more minutes, wrapping up around 10:15.

One attendee from the Triangle, who asked we not share his name, showed up hours early to stake out his spot in front. The fan said for most of the afternoon, people were watching concerts at other stages, but as they finished and Scott's performance time neared, they made their way toward the main stage. The fan said he did notice the crowd size grow, and some people looking to get out right before the show and early into Scott's performance.

"Security can't jump into crowds when there's a bunch of people and try to push everybody out of the way. It's going to be really hard. So when we see people fall on the ground, we pick them up and we ask them if they wanted to get out and then we carry them and bring on the message to other people to carry them out," the fan said.

However, he explained that it did not appear to be out of the ordinary from a general concert experience.

"I was very, very surprised when I (learned of the deaths). I was just like, that is crazy. Because I saw a lot of people needed to be carried out and stuff, and like I said (Scott) paused the show because of the ambulance so I was like they're going to get carried out, get some air, and hopefully they should be all right. But once I found out people died, I was trying to figure out how," the fan said.

Videos posted to social media earlier in the day showed fans breached a barricade, as investigators look into the possibility of overcrowding playing a role in what happened. A "similar" crowd surge at the festival in 2019 led to nearly 100 additional security staff being added to this year's event.

During the show, social media videos showed Scott pausing at times to highlight people in need of assistance, and afterwards stated he was unaware of the severity of the situation in the crowd.

Monday, Scott pledged to cover funeral costs and provide additional support to those affected, including issuing full refunds to all attendees. The artist has also partnered with BetterHelp to offer free online therapy sessions for people in need of mental health support.

The fan we spoke with said he will continue to go to concerts, but anticipates venues will be more proactive in preventing situations from becoming out of control.

"Moving forward, I think venues and concerts are just going to flat out stop it regardless of whose performing and what's going on if they don't like it, they're just going to stop it. Which I think is a really good idea because public safety does come first," the fan said.

This was the third year of Astroworld, which Scott founded in 2018. Last year's event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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