Astroworld security guard says festival staff were woefully unprepared
A Dallas woman who was hired to work security at the Astroworld Festival has laid bare the chaotic and dangerous scenes at the ill-fated festival in a series of videos posted to TikTok. The woman alleged she was given no training, had no idea what the job would ential, and by the time a deadly crowd surge occurred many of the security staff had walked out or taken off their uniforms and blended in with the crowd. “I did not think that I was going to have to be the one to stop people from knocking down fences from jumping over fences, and having to literally sit there and help people pick up bodies.
Do you think I would have signed up for that for £500?” she said. Eight people died and at least five remain critically injured after a crowd surge during Travis Scott’s performance at the festival in Houston’s NRG Park on Friday night. Security and police have come under heavy criticism for their handling of the tragedy, with many security staff unable to provide first aid or handle bad behaviour in the crowd.
The woman said she, her husband and nephew were hired by the festival security contractors to work two 17-hour shifts on Friday and Saturday for which they would be paid £500. None of the group had experience in event security, and she said she expected she would be performing simple tasks like checking wristbands.
The woman posted a series of TikTok videos claiming Astroworld security staff were woefully unprepared (TikTok)
They arrived at the venue at 7am on Friday.
“By the time we got there we walked into complete fricken chaos,” the woman said in a post to her Capriesha96 TikTok account.
“It was very sketch from the very beginning,” she said. “Nobody knew who was in charge, it was a mess.” Many of the 900 security who showed up began leaving the venue, she said.
She said she was told the cell service would not be working, and was assigned to a VIP area and separated from her husband and nephew. As the gates opened at 2pm she saw people leaping the turnstiles and openly flouting security and Covid protocols. “It was complete chaos everywhere.
People had bags and backpacks, they never once searched no bags,” she explained. “People showed fake vaccination papers.” As the crowd grew during the afternoon, she said she saw people sniffing and smoking illegal drugs in front of Houston PD officers, who didn’t seem to care.
“I usually don’t care about people smoking, but there were kids there.” As Lil Baby took to the stage just before 7pm, the woman said she was the only security member at her station because the other security guards went to watch the concert. She said she saw concertgoers “wilding out” on drugs.
“The head of security was just as lost as us. You had security guard taking off their vest and blending in with the crowd. You had security guards getting high.
It was just a hot mess.” Another man hired to work security at Astroworld told TMZ he was so concerned about the lack of planning that he walked off the job on Friday morning. Darius Williams said he answered a job advert from Contemporary Services Corporation to work security at the festival, and completed a licensing exam for a level 2 security officer the day before the festival began.
When he arrived at NRG Park on Friday for his first shift, he said the festival was understaffed and not properly trained, and he relayed his concerns to a manager. After being told he was being moved away from the front gate, he decided to quit and left the festival. A job advert for event staff at the concert shows event staff were offered between £10 and £13 an hour.
A job advert for event staff at Astroworld Festival
The Independent has approached Live Nation and Contemporary Services Corporation for comment. The Tiktoker said she hadn’t been paid yet, and said the whole festival seemed like a “scam”. She said she had been told that staff wouldn’t receive their pay for the second day after the concert was called off, and were being charged £50 for not returning their uniforms.
“They are money hungry. They don’t give a dang about nothing. £50 for a vest? When there’s literally people dying?
Do you think we were gonna stay in there to get crushed?