Travis Scott's Astroworld staff were 'instructed to call dead festival-goers "Smurfs"'

10 November 2021, 11:24 | Updated: 10 November 2021, 16:54

An operations plan for Astroworld Festival 2021 reportedly directed staff to refer to dead concert-goers as "Smurfs", a document reveals.

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Trigger warning: This article contains sensitive material surrounding injury and death

Travis Scott's Astroworld festival turned into a mass tragedy, which saw the deaths of 8 concertgoers, with over 300 others injured.

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According to CNN, an operations plan for Astroworld Festival 2021 cited that potential deceased victims were to be called “smurfs” instead of using the word “dead".

Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival 2021 resulted in 8 deaths and over 300 people injured.
Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival 2021 resulted in 8 deaths and over 300 people injured. Picture: Getty

The festival, which took place on Friday (Nov 5) had a 56-page document made for organisers, which included warnings and concerns about the festival.

According to a document obtained by the publication, the plan reads: “Based on the site’s layout and numerous past experiences, a Security Plan has been established to help mitigate potential negative issues within the scope of the festival”

It continues: “The potential for multiple alcohol/drug related incidents, possible evacuation needs, and the ever-present threat of a mass casualty situation are identified as key concerns.”

The document had plans in place if there was a possible riot or civil unrest, an active shooter, and weather difficulties.

When it came to potential deaths at the event, staff were expected to tell Event Control about dead concertgoers by using the code “smurf".

Travis Scott&squot;s Astroworld Festival 2021 security plan directed staff to refer to dead concert-goers as &squot;smurfs&squot; to "avoid panic"
Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival 2021 security plan directed staff to refer to dead concert-goers as 'smurfs' to "avoid panic". Picture: Getty

“Never use the term ‘dead’ or ‘deceased’ over the radio,” the plan reportedly read. 

The plan added: “In any situation where large groups of people are gathering there is the potential for a civil disturbance/riot that can present a grave risk to the safety and security of employees and guests,” the document said. 

“The key in properly dealing with this type of scenario is proper management of the crowd from the minute the doors open.”

According to the plan, the only people with the authority to stop the concert were the executive producer and festival director.

Paul Wertheimer, the founder and president of Crowd Management Strategies said: "It doesn’t even really appear in what is the equivalent of the Astroworld’s crowd management plan" he told CNN.

“There’s no reference to crowd surge, crowd crush, crowd panic. There’s no reference to the front of the stage and festival seating crowd. And therefore, there’s no specific emergency planning for a mass casualty crowd crush event.” Paul added.

Travis Scott made a pubiic apology on his Instagram the following day. Houston PD have claimed eight people passed away, with their ages ranging from 14 to 27.

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