WACO, Texas – Reactions to Friday night’s deadly Astroworld 2021 Festival have been pouring in – putting blame on several factors of the concert.
One local music venue says the key to preventing another tragedy is to stop it before it happens.
The Backyard Bar Stage and Grill is one of the largest music venues in Waco. Co-owner Chris Cox says with a combination of the size of the crowd, the number of security and a giant mosh pit, Astroworld was a tragedy just waiting to happen.
“When you have 50,000 people all going in the same direction, it’s pretty hard to stop,” said Cox.
The crowd of thousands ran toward the stage at Astroworld in Houston on Friday night – crushing concertgoers.
“It has to be stopped before it starts somehow, and you can’t stop 50,000 people. You just can’t. I don’t care how much security you have,” said Cox.
The stampede left eight dead and hundreds injured.
“It was just devastating to see people being crushed,” said Cox. “Blame can go in so many different directions, maybe there wasn’t enough security, maybe they oversold it, maybe he got word to stop the concert, and didn’t. It’s just a sad situation all the way around.”
The Backyard Bar Stage and Grill is known for bringing big-name celebrities like Nelly and Snoop Dogg to Waco. Still, they almost always sell only 1,000 tickets out of their more than-1,300 max capacity.
“We found it easier just to not try to squeeze a dollar out of it, because it gets a little hectic – even with a thousand people,” said Cox.
This tragedy hits close to home for Cox.
“A buddy of our’s step-daughter was one of the ones that was killed. So for us, as a venue owner, now we go, ‘Okay, let’s re-think our precautions, Let’s re-think our protocols when things happen,'” said Cox.
Cox hopes this tragedy can serve as a lesson to venues.
“I don’t know what rule changes are going to come from that, but I bet you there’s going to be some,” said Cox.
The Backyard says Nelly will be returning in two weeks, and they feel safe knowing they have an over-abundance of security for their venue size.