Astroworld 2021 tragedy: What parents should know on kids, mosh pits and concert dangers

Astroworld attendee recalls hearing cries for help in ‘traumatic experience’

Timothy Perez said he tried to help other concert-goers that were yelling for help during the deadly 2021 Astroworld Festival on ‘America’s Newsroom’

Travis Scott’s 2021 Astroworld Festival in Houston resulted in the death of eight concert attendees, two of whom were high school students. 

Friday’s uncontrollable stage surge also resulted in the hospitalization of 25 people, including a 9-year-old who’s in critical condition and a mix of minors, college students and young professionals, which has shocked parents and novice concertgoers. 

When a raucous crowd or mosh pit forms, it’s extremely hard if not impossible to exit, said Dr. Rami Hashish, who is a body performance and injury specialist. In his line of work as a biomechanics and injury expert, Hashish has studied not only crowd behavior but also injury prevention.

“There’s typically a confluence of events that happen that is an indication of danger. It’s basically loud music, fast music that’s synchronized with bright lights, an increasing amount of people intoxicated, and then just general irrational behavior of the standing crowd,” Hashish told Fox News. “The main way to stay safe is to control or even limit your consumption of alcohol because that’s one of the primary predictors of putting oneself in a bad situation and kind of losing the understanding of what is happening when this occurs.”

He added that even in the absence of alcohol concert attendees have a slim chance of escape when the barricade is thousands of other bodies.

At the sold-out Astroworld concert, roughly 50,000 people were believed to be in attendance at the NRG Park stadium, similar to its 2019 iteration.

Fox News has reached out to Live Nation, the organizer behind Astroworld, for comment on concert safety.

Following the Astroworld Festival tragedy, some parents who would’ve let their child go to a concert unsupervised might want to attend as a chaperone. Although adult supervision is largely a positive thing parents can do, Hashish stressed that adults should recognize the warning signs of dangerous crowds.

“Even though parents think they can protect their kids no matter what, you can’t do much when you have a thousand people pushing up against you,” Hashish said. “You can’t control the crowd, but you need to be aware of your surroundings as much as you possibly can.”

While some concertgoers might long for a standing general admission ticket when seeing their favorite artist, Hashish said ticketed seats are the safer spots where crowding and trampling are less likely to happen.


The crowd watches as Travis Scott performs at Astroworld Festival at NRG park on Friday, Nov.  5, 2021 in Houston, where eight people died and numerous others were injured in what officials described as a surge of the crowd at the music festival.
(Jamaal Ellis/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Concertgoers in standing areas tend to fall victim to “group think” when individuals start to storm a stage, according to Hashish. And in some instances, artists encourage the behavior to enhance their show, as seen in Scott’s 2015 Lollapalooza music festival performance and 2017 Arkansas concert, which ultimately led to his arrest for reckless conduct and similar charges.

According to Hashish, people who are on the shorter or lightweight side [like children] are most at risk of getting trampled or crushed when mosh pit-like crowds form because it can be hard to see them or they can be disregarded outright by attendees who don’t care as much about safety.

“It’s fine to dance in large environments, but there are certain indicators you should be aware of before a dangerous crowd forms,” Hashish said. “Once you start hearing the music getting louder and faster and the music synchronizing with lights or people start going towards the stage kind of mushing together, those are indicators of a potential disaster.”

If a person can’t escape before getting swept up in a crowd, Hashish stressed that it’s imperative to “protect your head at all costs.”

“In these types of events, more than 50 to 60% of the reported injuries are head injuries,” Hashish told Fox. “If you have a head injury that could be a concussion that could be a traumatic brain injury and it could also be fatal.”

Other potential risks that could result from a severe head injury include short or long-term mental or visual disturbances. 


A visitor writes a note at a memorial outside of the canceled Astroworld festival at NRG Park on November 7, 2021 in Houston, Texas.
(Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)

In cases where people get knocked over in a crowd, Hashish said the best way to protect your head is by tucking your chin down and holding your bent arms over the back of your head to help protect your face and neck.

“One head injury can be a difference between life and death,” Hashish continued. “And there are so many different ways of sustaining a head injury from a mosh pit. People are jumping around. People are arguing. You can maybe get hit by an elbow or by another person. You may fall. There are so many different ways of injuring your head, which is your livelihood. It’s not worth putting yourself in that position.”

Parents can also teach children that they’re at higher risk for getting trampled because of their small size, Hashish noted.

A concert security guide published to the Eventbrite Blog in 2018 provided three safety tips for concertgoers who are prepping for a show. The event management and ticketing company’s director of field operations Tommy Goodwin said concert attendees should familiarize themselves with seating charts and venue exits, have a communication plan if they’re going with friends and practice exit strategies before they go.

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