Some wonder if stage setup at Astroworld festival played role in tragedy

As Houston police and the FBI examine Friday’s lethal Astroworld live performance, some consultants are questioning what, if any, function having just one stage working throughout Travis Scott’s prime-time efficiency could have performed.

By the point Scott took the principle stage Friday night, a lot of the hundreds of followers on the occasion had gathered as near it as they might, concertgoers have mentioned.

The chaos unfolded shortly after 9 p.m. when the group “started to compress towards the entrance of the stage,” officers have mentioned. Houston Police Chief Troy Finner has mentioned that a couple of folks began “happening” at 9:30 p.m. Officers knowledgeable producers of what was taking place, and the present ended at about 10:10 p.m., he mentioned.

The lethal crush that left eight useless and tons of injured coincided with the beginning of Scott’s set.

“That sounds fairly scary,” London-based crowd science Professor Keith Nonetheless mentioned. “In case you have a multi-stage setup, you’ll assume folks could be distributed amongst levels.”

Scott’s set began after RZA wrapped up on the second stage, which then went darkish for the night. The Houston native son’s top-of-the-bill look was alerted by a countdown, lit up by pyrotechnics and included a shock look by star rapper Drake.

The primary stage was the place to be — and was basically Astroworld’s solely place to be as soon as Scott stepped out.

The occasion’s two-stage setup was for use as a vital crowd management measure, Houston fireplace Chief Samuel Peña mentioned Saturday at a information convention.

“A part of when we now have massive occasions, one of many issues that we contemplate is to make sure that the crowds are subdivided,” he mentioned then. “They’d two separate levels in two separate areas. That was a part of the plan.”

However to be efficient, alternate levels at festivals should be used, live performance promoters say.

“In case you’ve obtained favorable artists on completely different levels on the identical time, then the group shall be break up,” mentioned veteran Los Angeles competition promoter Reza Gerami. “You have to have secondary choices for levels and different expertise.”

However Scott had the one highlight Friday evening.

“As soon as Travis Scott got here on, I informed myself that is the second I’ve been making ready for, I simply must breathe,” witness Diana Amira, 19, mentioned. “However … my rib cage was so squished that I couldn’t broaden my lungs to catch a breath.”

Scott mentioned in an Instagram story posted on his account Saturday that he was “devastated” by the deaths and accidents

“I may by no means think about something like this simply taking place,” he mentioned. “My followers actually imply the world to me and I at all times simply actually wish to go away them with a constructive expertise. Anytime I could make out … something that is happening, I would cease the present and … assist them get the assistance they want.”

He added that he may “by no means think about the severity of the state of affairs.”

Typically, massive music festivals use alternate levels and displays to attract at the least some followers away from a significant headliner. Along with being a crowd management security measure, it helps producers create the inventive combine that has turn into a trademark of the competition expertise.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based security advisor Scott Atlas famous that many festivals characteristic staggered artist schedules on a number of levels in order that the group does not all transfer directly. “You wish to disperse the group somewhat bit,” he mentioned.

It isn’t clear if the competition setup and stage scheduling is a part of the investigation into Friday’s tragedy.

Police and fireplace officers didn’t reply to requests for remark, and neither did competition organizer Stay Nation or venue and safety supervisor ASM World.

Nina S. Jackson, spokesperson for venue NRG Park, a Harris County-owned complicated in Houston, declined remark, citing pending litigation and ongoing investigations.

Chief Peña mentioned Saturday that the occasion “was restricted to 50,000″ and that the placement may have dealt with hundreds extra.

“They might have had over 200,000 folks on this venue,” he mentioned.

Rafael Lemaitre, spokesperson for Harris County Decide Lina Hildago, mentioned the utmost capability for the house is 240,000 folks.

Specialists say such a quantity relies on a ground-space method that does not essentially contemplate police, safety, EMTs, levels, concessions and the way the group would transfer from place to position.

“It does not matter what the house is,” crowd science skilled Nonetheless mentioned, “it is how that house is utilized.”

On Saturday, Peña mentioned investigators have been specializing in no matter “incidents” could have sparked the panic.

“What we’re wanting into is what precipitated the group surge, what led to the group surge and people incidents on the level of the place the live performance was wanting on the stage,” he mentioned.

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