What happened at the tragic Astroworld Festival?

Courtesy of Astroworld Festival

Local and national headlines are covering the tragic events at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on Friday, November 5.

Eight people, including a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old, died and dozens were hospitalized.

According to reporting by the Houston Chronicle, “Stunning accounts of people gasping for air and being trampled in a raucous crowd of 50,000 surfaced Saturday as Houston’s first major music festival since the pandemic turned into one of the deadliest concerts in U.S. history.”

Much is unknown at this time, and the Houston Police Department’s homicide and narcotics divisions are conducting a criminal investigation. City officials and concert organizers encourage anyone, who attended the concert and has any information about the crowd surge, to contact police.

To help you understand and follow what has happened in the past 48 hours, I’ve rounded up the following articles:

Overall understanding of the tragedy (via Houston Public Media): 8 dead, more than a dozen injured at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival

Closer look at the timeline of events (via Houston Chronicle): For 37 minutes after officials declared a ‘mass casualty’ at Astroworld, Travis Scott played on

Reaction from Travis Scott (via Houston Chronicle): In emotional Instagram video, Travis Scott says he could ‘never imagine anything like this happening’

Explanation of strategies for crowd control during large festivals (via Variety): How Travis Scott’s $5 Million Solo Stage, Set Time May Have Contributed to Astroworld Festival Deaths

Personal account and reflections from Joey Guerra, Music Critic (via Houston Chronicle): How the Astroworld tragedy changed one writer’s view of the live-music experience

Perspective of concertgoers (via Houston Chronicle): ‘It could have been me’: How the tragedy at Astroworld Festival unfolded

Historical context, citing concerts going back to 1969 (via NPR): Astroworld Festival joins a list of historical concert tragedies

Flowers rest outside of the canceled Astroworld festival at NRG Park in Houston on Saturday. Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images/via NPR

Yue Bao named Houston Symphony Assistant Conductor

Yue Bao, Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation Assistant Conductor / courtesy of Houston Symphony

The Houston Symphony has appointed Yue Bao as the orchestra’s new Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation Assistant Conductor – promoted from her previous position as Conducting Fellow, which she had served since fall 2019.

During the pandemic, whose lockdowns and travel complications forced Vienna-based Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada to be absent from Houston for a year and half, Bao played a prominent role on the orchestra’s podium. She conducted several concerts, including livestream performances, subscription series concerts, and notably the 2020-21 season Opening Night Concert.

“We’re grateful that she was here in Houston to help us make the 2020–2021 Season happen when few American orchestras were able to do so, and we’re so happy and pleased to have an Assistant Conductor whose career is so clearly on the rise,” said John Mangum, Houston Symphony Executive Director and CEO, in a press release.

This past summer, Bao made her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut at the Ravinia Festival, and she will guest conduct the Detroit Symphony and the San Antonio Symphony in 2022.

Her new role with the Houston Symphony will include education concerts at Jones Hall, performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre, and continued support with Classical Series concerts, according to a statement from the orchestra.

Bao was also featured in a recent New York Times article, which examined the hiring of assistant conductors among top American orchestras in recent years, and found them to be a far more diverse group than reigning music directors – indicating their potential to change the landscape of classical music leadership in coming years.