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NewsMusic NewsTravis Scott should have halted Astroworld show sooner, says Houston fire chief

“The artist has command of that crowd”

By Tom Skinner

Travis Scott performing live onstage at Astroworld 2021
Travis Scott performs live at Astroworld 2021. CREDIT: Getty

The Houston fire chief has said Travis Scott should have stopped his Astroworld show earlier to prevent the crowd surge that killed eight people.

Speaking on NBC’s TODAY show, chief Samuel Pena explained that officials are beginning to get “some picture” of what could have caused last Friday’s (November 5) tragedy in Texas.

“It seems as though the crowd began to try to push towards the front to get as close to the stage as they could when Mr Scott’s set began,” Pena explained.

“And what was happening is the barricades that were placed in to prevent that surge towards the stage, in essence, caused other areas of pinch points. And as the crowd began to surge and push and compress towards the front, it was those people in the centre that began to get crushed and the injuries started to begin.”

Pena went on to say that the Houston Fire Department is working alongside the police to determine what caused the crowd to begin that surge. “We’re looking at everything,” he said.

Asked if Scott should have halted his performance earlier, Pena replied: “Absolutely. Everybody at that event had a responsibility, starting from the artist on down. The artist has command of that crowd.”

He continued: “In my opinion – and this is my opinion right now because everything is going to be fleshed out throughout this investigation – but certainly, the artist, if he notices something that’s going on, he can certainly pause that performance, turn on the lights and say, ‘Hey we’re not going to continue until this thing is resolved’.”

Pena said that there is currently no evidence to suggest that Scott encouraged the crowd to participate in any dangerous behaviour. “I’m not prepared to say he was fully aware of what was going on,” he added.

Earlier this week, the head of Houston Police claimed he had “expressed concerns” to Travis Scott ahead of Astroworld 2021.

Experts have claimed that the event’s organisers “weren’t prepared” for the huge crowds, while lawsuits against Scott and promotors Live Nation continue to grow.

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