8 dead, hundreds injured at Astroworld fest Friday night, hours after stampede

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Eight people died Friday night and hundreds of others were injured during the opening night of a large weekend music festival at NRG Park, authorities said.

Editor’s note: This is a developing story and is being updated continuously.

It happened at the third-annual Astroworld Festival, a sold-out concert event featuring multiple acts.

The worst of the incident began around 9:15 p.m. when the crowd of approximately 50,000 began to move toward the front of the stage, according to Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña.

“The crowd began to compress toward the front of the stage, and people began to panic,” Peña said.

The view from SkyEye overhead Friday night showed the heavy fire and police activity in the area of the event as it ended early. Organizers paused the concert when it was apparent that multiple people were hurt, according to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.

“At some point, the show was stopped when the crowd was surging,” Finner said.

Finner said it was too early to determine what caused the crowd surge or what caused the deaths and quickly shot down any speculation.

“There are a lot of rumors going around,” Finner said. “We have hurting families out here.”

A central reunion center was set up at a hotel at 8686 Kirby Drive for family members to connect with their loved ones who may have been at the festival. The location is being staffed by personal from Houston Police, the Houston Fire Department and counselors. City leaders urged family members to visit the location if they haven’t been in touch with their loved ones who attended the concert.

“If you’re a relative, (and your) family member was at this event and you have not spoken to this individual, we have units available to assist,” Finner said.

The deadly incident came hours after a massive crowd stormed the perimeter of NRG Park prior to the evening incident, creating a chaotic situation for security personnel and event staff. Finner said the two events were not related.

SEE ALSO: Stampede at Astroworld fest entry unfolds in front of ABC13 crew

Multiple fans were trampled Friday afternoon as hundreds rushed the event’s perimeter, knocking down metal detectors and a security screening area. It still wasn’t clear Saturday if anyone suffered major injuries during the earlier incident.

WATCH: Crowd overtakes security checkpoint at Astroworld Festival

SEE ALSO: Here’s who’ll be at Astroworld Fest this weekend

ABC13 Reporter Mycah Hatfield was near the entrance Friday afternoon as the mob approached, and said security personnel were able to move some people away from the entrance before the crowd overtook the gates.

The event’s 100,000 tickets sold out within an hour of going on sale back in May.

Travis Scott, the popular rapper and organizer, launched the Astroworld Festival in 2018. Like most other large events, it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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