New Documentary Gives Horrifying Grounds-Eye View of Astroworld Concert

Director Charlie Minn interviews a survivor of the 2021 Astroworld concert.
Screencap from Concert Crush
Director Charlie Minn interviews a survivor of the 2021 Astroworld concert.
Charlie Minn’s documentary on the tragic 2021 Astroworld concert is about 85 minutes long At a guess, about 5 percent of the runtime contains the sights and sounds of injured people screaming for help.

Concert Crush takes viewers into a minute-by-minute account of the Travis Scott concert that topped off the festival. The footage at ground-level is brutal, full of pained pleas and at least one terrifying shot of a limp body falling from a stretcher. More than 50,000 people officially attended, but the number swelled beyond that thanks to gate jumpers, a practice encouraged by Scott on Twitter and partially driven by the $300 tickets. By the end of the night, 10 people were dead and more than 300 injured.

“The last time I checked, you go to a music festival to have a good time, not to fight with for your life,” says Minn.

A key question in Concert Crush is who is responsible for what happened, and will there be any justice? Minn interviews several survivors of the night, all of whom describe feelings of terror as they realize that the concert was quickly turning fatal, as well as lawyers representing the victims. Absent from the movie are statements or interviews with Scott, Mayor Sylvester Turner, or members of the Houston Police Department, all of whom Minn says declined to appear. No mention is made of the  Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation, which along with Scott and others has been named in civil suits filed on behalf of victims and their families.

The result is a somewhat uneven look that does seem to point the finger of blame at both the city and Scott as the key reasons for the failures. The fact that lawyer Rick Ramos is a co-producer, and that attorney  Tony Buzbee — hired by many of the victims and their families to file suit in the case — appears prominently, is likely to make Scott’s defenders think of the film as a hit piece.

“I’m doing what I can to give victims and survivors a voice,” says Minn. “Every story fades. We have ten people who lost their lives and nobody had been arrested. No one sitting in jail. The rich just get richer.”

Nonetheless, the footage speaks for itself in Concert Crush. A timeline is meticulously drawn from the start of the show at 9:02 p.m. to its end with cellphone footage Minn gathered from victims' lawyers and in collaboration with the Houston Chronicle (former Houston Press managing editor) Zach Despart appears in the film commenting on the incident). Much is made of the fact that Scott at one point acknowledged an ambulance in the crowd, a limp body being crowd surfed to the front, and a man in a distant tree. The implication is that Scott must have known that something was wrong.

“Don’t tell me he didn’t know what’s going on when he sees the ambulance,” says Minn. “My opinion, he just wanted to get through the set. He’s had concerts before where people got hurt. He thinks ‘I can float on water here, and everyone bows to me.”

The planning of the concert also comes under scrutiny. Opening acts performed at a nearby stage, and then the audience moved over to the main stage for Scott. Because of the layout, most of the crowd ended up in the south quadrant rather than evenly distributed. Seven of the deaths that occurred happened there, whereas people in other parts of the audience area had no idea that people were getting hurt.

Recordings of HPD radio transmissions show that by the third song of the concert people were aware of the danger. Yet, no one stopped the show. Why that never happened is an unanswered question of Concert Crush, and it’s not likely to be resolved in real life either any time soon. An official investigation into the show is ongoing, but Minn does not have much hope for justice.

“I have to go by the facts and draw my own conclusion,” says Minn. “No one’s really talking for these people as far as I can see. What are you investigating? It’s been half a year. I’m a New Yorker. I’m unfiltered. I want to keep things real. That night was an atrocity, and someone has got to say it.”

“If this had happened outside of Houston, Scott would be in more trouble,” he added. “I think he’d be a lot more nervous if he didn’t know the mayor and police chief. The police had all the authority to stop things, and the show should have been stopped by the third song. It was a dangerous, evil joke.”

Concert Crush screens on Tuesday, April 12 at the ShowBiz Cinema,350 Northpark in Kingwood. For more information visit Free.