What Is a Crowd Surge?

In the wake of the deaths and injuries at the Astroworld festival on Friday night, as we reported on here, many have been trying to figure out exactly what happened and how it happened. One phrase that had come up again and again in relation to this is ‘crowd surge’, so what exactly does it refer to?

In short, a crowd surge is when a large group of people in a confined space, often at something like a concert or a protest, all move in a particular direction, leading to crushing between people and against structures.

One of the most infamous examples of this happening was at Hillsborough Stadium on April 15th 1989, where the opening of a gate and the subsequent influx of fans led to 97 deaths and 766 injuries from crushing against the barriers of the standing area they were in. As a result of this, standing areas were mostly phased out of top-flight soccer. 

At Astroworld the movement was towards the stage, where the performance was happening, at around 9pm CST according to the Houston PD. The event was fully sold out and attended by around 50,000 people so it’s not hard to see how a dangerous surge was possible. 

As investigations into what happened that night commence, we can only hope that they find out precisely what happened so it can be prevented from happening again.