Local parents troubled by deadly Astroworld Music Festival

Ten tips on what to do should you find yourself in a crowd surge situation below

South Texas – Parents are reevaluating safety measures before sending their children to big events after the deadly Astroworld Music Festival left eight people dead and hundreds injured Friday.

Mary Velasquez said her three sons attended the event.

“There was an issue before the concert event started,” she said. “I remember talking to my boys as they were walking to the entrance doors and it was like 10 in the morning. I am talking to them and I hear them said, ‘Oh, wow look at that.’ They were watching a group of people jumping over the fence and I was thinking if they are doing this in broad daylight, I can only imagine what the evening is going to be like.”

After seeing other videos surface of people jumping fences, Velasquez said she became very concerned.

“I just told my boys to be careful and to look after each other,” Velasquez said. “I felt like a lot of people were there that didn’t have wristbands. I think more security should have been brought in.”

She said her oldest son was familiar with large events such as this which is why she didn’t think anything tragic like what happened would take place.

“When they noticed it was getting more packed, they moved up a hill and were by a tree,” Velasquez said. “They could see everything up there. They saw the golf carts going by, they saw people having CPR done on them.”

Patricia Harris, another parent, also attended the concert with her son as a 25th birthday present.

She describes the devastating scene that she witnessed.

“This young girl was being crushed,” Harris said as she became emotional. “When they pulled her out, she was gone. They asked my husband for water and he gave them a bottle. They poured it on her. They did CPR on her for 45 minutes, but she was gone. It was sad because that could have been my son. It is just really sad that these kids go to have a good time and they don’t expect that and everyone expects to return home.”

Like many, it has been hard for Harris to sleep reliving that upsetting moment.

She said she has attended many concerts with her son and is familiar with the high energy of a young crowd.

“Everybody knows that when you go to a Travis Scott concert or any hip hop concert, there is going to be moshing,” Harris said. “There is going to be raging. That is what the kids love to do. As soon as the countdown started everyone started rushing in. From the left to the right to the back. Everybody started rushing in.”

Like Velasquez, Harris feels that more security should have been brought in and better resources to get help to people when they needed it.

She also feels that Travis Scott and Drake should not be blamed despite both music artists possibly facing lawsuits.

“We all go out and we all have a good time,” Harris said. “When we go out, we expect to come home. When we go to the mall, we expect to come home. When we go to church, we expect to come home. These are planned events. Travis Scott and Drake did not plan for people to be crushed and killed at their event. My heart goes out to all of those families deeply. But, we have to be cautious of what we do before we start pointing fingers.”

Velasquez said she feels guilty sending her sons to what turned out to be a dangerous event, but moving forward, she will do more research into different events before sending them off again.

“It is horrible! This isn’t what you expect as a parent sending them to a concert,” Velasquez said. “I just never imagined anything like this, never. I will definitely look at where it is going to be at and who it is that is performing.”

She has always taught her sons to be proactive in situations like this.

“Have a plan if something happens,” she said. “We talked about this. I told them to be proactive if they saw anything wrong and to set up a meeting place if something happened. It was a good move on their part to get to that hill by the tree because if they would have been stuck in the crowd, they could have been separated and everything.”

Harris said she understands the younger generation gets excited about different events in the moment, but hopefully, this story will help them stay a bit calmer next time.

“You know there were young adults jumping on ambulances that were trying to get through,” Harris said. “There were young adults crushing each other and I know it may not have been on purpose, but they need to calm down. We need to chill out. They get too excited. These young kids get too excited and get too pumped up. We all have our moments. But we need to take a moment and be cautious of our own behavior so everyone can have a safe and enjoyable time.”

Velasquez agrees.

“These kids need to learn to control themselves as well,” she said. Jumping the gates. Pushing down gates. That right there should not have happened.”

The Conversation lists other tips on what people can do to better protect themselves from a crowd surge:


About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.