HOUSTON — Aerial images over NRG Park on Friday night showed what a crowd of 50,000 people looked like at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival.
But it’s the personal experiences of attendees like Reese Bludau that help to describe what being crammed inside the massive crowd felt like.
Reese Bludau, who is the cousin of KHOU 11 News reporter Janelle Bludau, said he was standing to the left of the main stage and was close enough to feel the warmth of pyrotechnics on his face as Scott walked on stage around 9 p.m. on Nov. 5.
“From 2 o’clock until 9 p.m. I was having a fantastic time,” the 20-year old said about his first-ever music festival.
Reese Bludau said he wore a sweatshirt to dress for the weather. He wore a Camelback full of water so that he would not get dehydrated. He even established a meeting point at NRG Park with his friends just in case they got separated at any point in the night.
“I was definitely prepared for chaos. Obviously not just that extreme," he said.
Eight people, including a 14-year old boy, died at the festival. Houston police are currently investigating to figure out what led up to the deaths and injuries that spiked in the hundreds.
Reese Bludau said the crowd pushed toward the stage as a countdown to Scott’s performance aired on big screens in the parking lot.
“It was like a current, almost, in an ocean,” of people that Bludau said moved in one big wave. “You definitely weren’t moving your arms. They were either here or here,” said the college student of how difficult it was to raise or lower your arms in the crowd. “I had four to six people touching me at all times, probably.”
With no room to move, Reese Bludau said he remembers feeling like a 20-pound weighted plate was pushed against his chest and back.
“Intertwining legs. Legs against legs and everyone was kind of brace themselves as best,” he said.
He also said the raging mosh pit was poorly lit.
“The only way I could see my feet is if I could turn on my flashlight and look down,” Reese Bludau said. "I was walking on people’s shoes."
Bludau said, like a rip current, the rolling crowd carried him back about 70 yards in about 20 minutes.
“I had people’s faces changing around me every three to four minutes. It was somebody new standing next to me just off of the sheer shifting of people,” he said.
Reese Bludau said he was anticipating a raging crowd when he bought a ticket to the third-ever Astroworld music festival.
“His concerts are known for being the most wild,” he said of Scott’s live rap performances. “The motto is rage, rage, rage. I mean, you can go look at his Instagram captions, that’s definitely what he thrives on in his live performances.”
It was a Friday night rager that Houston police said turned into a mass casualty emergency within a matter of minutes.