Travis Scott continued to perform for almost 40 minutes after a “mass casualty incident” had been declared at Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas, on Friday, it has been revealed.
The rapper and organiser of the doomed event took to the stage for his performance at around 9pm on Friday night.
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said in a press conference on Saturday morning that officials declared a “mass casualty incident” at about 9.38pm and the promoter Live Nation agreed to shut the event down.
However, Mr Scott continued to perform for another 37 minutes until around 10.15pm, according to the Houston Chronicle.
It is not clear what Mr Scott was aware of happening in the crowd during his performance on stage.
Several attendees said the rapper only stopped playing after completing his full set.
The timeline raises further questions about how the tragedy unfolded and whether more lives could have been saved if the show had been stopped sooner.
So far, eight people have been confirmed dead and hundreds more were injured after the crowd surged during the rapper’s performance.
Police said victims were trampled and crushed in the chaos while others suffered cardiac arrest.
The youngest victim was 14-year-old high school freshman and talented baseball player John Hilgert. The oldest was 27-year-old Danish Baig, whose family said he died trying to save his fiancée in the crush.
Footage of the concert from around 9.30pm shows the rapper noticing an ambulance in the crowd.
He then asks his fans to raise their hands to the sky and urges them to make “the ground shake” for his next song.
“You all know what you came to do, Chase B, let’s go. I want to make this motherf***ing ground shake,” he tells fans.
Separate horrifying footage posted on social media from another point in the show shows an unconscious male being carried out of the crowd and administered medical aid by Houston Police Officers as Mr Scott performs close by.
Other footage shows the crowd chanting “stop the show” while, in another video, two desperate fans are seen clambering onto a camera platform and begging the camera operator to do something to stop the set.
“There’s someone dead in there,” the woman screams.
Mr Scott briefly paused his set at 9.42pm after noticing someone passed out and told the crowd to let security personnel in.
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña told The New York Times that Mr Scott was the one person who could have urged the crowd to stop and brought the show to an end sooner.
“The one person who can really call for and get a tactical pause when something goes wrong is that performer. They have that bully pulpit and they have a responsibility,” Chief Peña said.
“If somebody would have said, ‘Hey, shut this thing down and turn on the lights until this thing gets corrected’ – and that coming from the person with the mic – I think could have been very helpful.”
Mr Scott released a video on Instagram on Saturday saying he was “devastated” by what had happened and would support the victims’ families.
His girlfriend Kylie Jenner also released a statement on Sunday saying neither she – who was at the show with the couple’s child Stormi – nor Mr Scott were “aware of any fatalities until the news came out after the show and in no world would have continued filming or performing”.
At least two criminal investigations are already underway to determine what happened while some survivors have already filed lawsuits against the rapper and Live Nation.
Astroworld is a music festival launched by Mr Scott back in 2018 on the former site of the Six Flags Astroworld amusement park in the rapper’s hometown of Houston.
It was named after his album released that year with the original line-up featuring other artists including, as well as Mr Scott, Post Malone, Metro Boomin and Lil Wayne.
The annual event was put on pause last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with Friday kickstarting the third festival.
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