‘It was like watching a Jenga tower topple’: Astroworld fan speaks out about being ignored by concert crew
Seanna Faith McCarty attended the Astroworld concert with her friend and almost lost her life in the mass crowd crush that killed eight people. Here, she opens up about the tragedy, saying her and other fans’ pleas for help were ignored.
On November 5, the world was shocked when we learned of the devastation that took place during the Astroworld tragedy.
At least 50,000 people were in attendance at Astroworld, a concert in Houston that was founded and headlined by rapper Travis Scott, when a crowd surge caused mass panic and resulted in 300 injuries and ten deaths, including a nine-year-old boy who passed away after being placed into an induced coma.
Now, as examinations into exactly how such an atrocity could occur, many fans are speaking out, saying they tried to alert cameramen and security but their pleas were ignored. These scenes of desperation were caught on camera, as videos continue to emerge on social media of the concert chaos.
Concert goer speaks out
Attendee Seanna Faith McCarty was among those urgently seeking help. She shared her near-death experience and her frustration with the lack of response from concert staff during the mass crowd crush.
Seanna attended the concert with her friend and while they tried to get close to the stage, they were pushed to the side near the venue’s middle walkway surrounded by “chest-high metal gates”. This is when the chaos began to start.
“Every gap was filled. Where your feet were placed was where they stayed. Energy rose as the time neared beginning the show,” she said. Immediately, they were closed in from all directions and had nowhere to go when people started pressing in around them.
“Within 30 seconds of the first song, people began to drown in other people,” she wrote. “There were so many people. Tall men, women…where the only thing they could see was the back of the person in front of them. The rush of people became tighter and tighter. Breathing became something only a few were capable of. The rest were crushed or unable to breathe in the thick, hot air.
‘A hole opened in the ground’
“My friend began to gasp for breath, and she told me we needed to get out. We tried. There was nowhere to go. The shoving got harder and harder. If someone’s arms had been up, it was no longer a possibility to put it down. So, people began to choke one another as the mass swayed. It became more and more violent.”
Both girls began to scream for help and soon others joined in their pleas, gasping for air as bodies pushed in even closer. But despite their cries, the security nearby took no notice.
“None of that [help] came,” she wrote. “We continued to drown. More and more. One person fell, or collapsed, it doesn’t matter how it started. Once one fell, a hole opened in the ground. It was like watching Jenga tower topple. Person after person was sucked down.”
She describes it as a massive “sinkhole” that opened up and kept pulling people down. She heard “animal shrieks” all around her and even came face-to-face with a man who was lying on the ground.
“You could not guess from which direction the shove of hundreds of people would come next. You were at the mercy of the wave. I watched my friend be dragged away from me and lost sight of her. I began to realize at that moment that there is a way to die that not many people know about. Being trampled to death.”
“I felt a primal fear rip through me, and I’m not sure anyone understood the magnitude of the situation below,” she wrote. “I screamed there were people on the floor. There were people. Unconscious. Being trampled by every foot that slammed into the ground as each individual tried to keep themselves upright.”
Ignored cries for help
Suddenly, Seanna felt someone pull her from the crowd and she was able to fight her way towards the guardrail. It was then that she climbed up a nearby platform and tried to alert the cameraman to the horrors of what was going on below.
Some of the onlookers filmed her and another man, where the cameraman can be seen ignoring them and telling them to “get off the platform”.
— SportzStew ? (@sportzstewcom) November 6, 2021
“The strangest thing happened in that moment,” she wrote. “People began to boo at me. They pointed their fury at me, unleashed a rage. I screamed that people were dying over and over. No one would listen.”
It was then that she went under the platform and dialled 9-1-1 for help and was able to direct first aid responders to the sinkhole of crushed fans. Her friend, thankfully, was okay.
The concert started at 9pm and continued for 40 minutes before Travis Scott briefly paused and directed EMTs to an unconscious fan. It was around this time that firefighters and police officers declared Astroworld a “mass casualty” event, after reports of injuries and medical distress throughout the crowd.
Scott continued singing until 10.15pm and was joined on the stage by rapper Drake towards the end of the concert.
There has since been massive controversy online, with people blaming a multitude of factors, including the lack of organisation and preparedness from Live Nation (the company behind the event), the ignorance of Scott (who continued to perform despite what was going on in the crowd and the appearance of multiple ambulances in the crowd) and the overly hyped fans (who had already shown excess energy by pushing through security barriers before the start of the show).
Scott did issue a brief statement on Twitter offering prayers and condolences to those impacted by the concert’s tragic events, but the majority of fans are far from sympathetic. So far, at least 36 lawsuits are in the works against Live Nation Entertainment, promoter ScoreMore Holdings, Scott and Drake, according to the Houston Chronicle.
While mosh pits and uncontrollable crowds are not rare at concerts, hopefully the impact of this tragedy can help raise awareness of these dangers, and urge the entertainment industry to put proper safeguards in place going forward.