Astroworld festival tragedy: Here are 5 concerts that turned deadly

HOUSTON — Concerts can be high-energy affairs, with attendees perhaps suffering from hoarseness or ringing in their eyes from the noise. However, as Friday night’s tragedy at the Astrodome music festival demonstrated, there are times when concerts turn deadly.

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At least eight people were killed and hundreds were treated for injuries after a sold-out crowd of nearly 50,000 people surged toward the stage during rapper Travis Scott’s performance at a music festival Friday night in Houston, authorities said.

Officials declared a “mass casualty event” outside NRG Park during the Astroworld Festival, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The Astroworld Festival was founded by Scott in 2018, Variety reported.

Here are five other high-profile incidents:

Route 91 Harvest Festival

On Oct. 1, 2017, a 64-year-old gunman named Stephen Craig Paddock fired into a crowd attending a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. Paddock fired a barrage of bullets from his 32nd-floor hotel room at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino into a crowd across the street. Fifty-nine people were killed and more than 500 people were injured as they were watching a performance by country singer Jason Aldean, KNPR reported.

An hour after the shooting, Paddock was found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire

On Dec. 2, 2016, a fire broke out at a former warehouse in Oakland, California, where a dance party and concert were being held. Thirty-six people were killed, according to NPR. The man who operated the warehouse, Derick Almena, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

City officials determined that the warehouse had no smoke detectors or sprinklers, and the building contained numerous extension cords and large quantities of flammable materials, NPR reported.

An Oakland police officer who visited the warehouse a year before it burned told his partner that he feared what “one spark” would do, comparing it to a “huge fireplace,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In 2020, the city of Oakland agreed to pay $32.7 million to victims affected by the fire, according to NPR -- $23.5 million was earmarked for families of people who died, and $9.2 million went to Sam Maxwell, who survived the fire with lifelong injuries.

‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott killed

On Dec. 8, 2004, in Columbus, Ohio, a young fan obsessed with heavy metal fatally shot former Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and two other people during a concert by Damageplan in front of about 200 fans, Rolling Stone reported.

Abbott, who was playing with Damageplan, was killed on the 24th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon, who was killed outside his New York City apartment.

The shooter, Nathan Gale, 25, was killed by a Columbus police officer moments after the former Marine opened fire at the Alrosa Villa nightclub, Rolling Stone reported. Gale was allegedly upset that Pantera had broken up in 2003 and may have believed Abbott had something to do with it, the magazine reported.

The others killed were Nathan Bray, 23, a fan; Damageplan crew member Jeff “Mayhem” Thompson, 49; and club employee Erin A. Halk, 29.

Station nightclub fire

More than 100 people died and at least 200 people were injured in a fire during a concert at The Station nightclub on Feb. 20, 2003, in West Warwick, Rhode Island, CBS News reported.

The blaze began when Los Angeles-based Great White took the stage and their tour manager, Daniel Biechele, set off four large fireworks, the network reported. Flames soon appeared on the walls on either side of the stage and spread quickly along the foam that lined the walls and ceiling of the venue.

“We went out on a Thursday night to listen to music, drink some beers and have a good time,” survivor Linda Saran told CBS News. “And a quarter of those people didn’t get to go home -- ever.”

Nine months after the fire, the club’s owners, brothers Jeff Derderian and Michael Derderian, along with Biechele, were each charged with 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter. They all later accepted plea deals, according to CBS News.

The Who in Cincinnati

On Dec. 3, 1979, 11 people were trampled to death as they attempted to enter Riverfront Coliseum for a concert by the British rock group, The Who. The stampede happened when thousands of fans, who had waited for several hours outside the venue, learned that the band might be late, KPRC reported.

Numerous injuries were also reported in what one survivor called a “nightmare,” the television station reported.

“It was tight enough that if the crowd was moving, you had no choice but to move with them,” Steve Upson told the television station. “There was no other way. It was that tight.”

“This is something I will surely remember on my death bed,” Pete Townshend, The Who’s lead guitarist, told WCPO in December 2019. “We handled it really badly. What we did is we left the city and we shouldn’t have … We had a show the next day in Buffalo. So, we spent the night (in Cincinnati). We couldn’t sleep. We got drunk. We sobered up. We got drunk again.

“We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t have anyone come and talk to us. We really didn’t know what to say or think or feel. We should have done the dutiful follow-up of being present and available to speak and support the families.”