Music Fest Tragedy


Amin Shah, Music Editor

Tragedy struck last week during the Astroworld music festival as a surge of people broke through security gates, allowing for an overpopulation of fans that ultimately led to the death of at least 8 people. The surge of people reached a peak as Travis Scott took to the stage. Scott has been convicted twice in the past for encouraging fans to jump security barriers and rush the stage at his previous shows.

What Happened?

As Travis Scott released his new singles ¨Escape Plan¨ and ¨Mafia¨ to accompany his Astroworld festival located in Houston, Texas (the rapper’s place of birth), he quickly sold out his concert at a near-record pace. With around 50,000 concertgoers at the location and an estimated 100,000 tickets sold, fans were packed in like sardines, which was bound to create problems (the original capacity was going to be set at 200,000). The issue really started when the rapper first came out onstage. That is when the crowd rushed to the front of the stage, allowing for hundreds to be trampled and stepped on, hospitalizing over 300 and ending in eight fatalities, with victims ranging in age from 14 years old to 27. Several people from the crowd climbed on top of stage platforms, begging Scott to end the concert but to no avail, as many other concertgoers dismissed the plea. Even as medical attention (in the form of ambulances) arrived, concertgoers jumped atop ambulances while paramedics tried to resuscitate those who were injured and in fatal conditions. There is even a video that has gone viral of Travis Scott viewing a passed out fan being carried to the front of the stage while continuing his performance with Drake. Some speculate that there may have even been someone going around injecting drugs into the concertgoers, as a security guard stated he felt a prick in his neck and quickly passed out afterwards. Around 11 patients who were hospitalized were facing cardiac arrest, which may have been a result of the Narcan that authorities  confirmed was being administered within the crowd. Although Scott stopped the show twice, he performed for more than an hour before ending his show. Scott may have seen that something was going on in front of him, but with a crowd of 50,000 concertgoers, he might not have known the full extent of what was happening.

The Aftermath

Travis Scott was quick to respond to the situation that happened, tweeting about how devastated he is and how he plans to work with the Houston community to heal and to support the families in need. Kylie Jenner, Travis’ girlfriend, also responded, stating that they were not aware of the fatalities that occurred until the news came in. Both of these responses were criticized, as many stated they were just following what their PR team wanted, which many view as a possibility after the release of Travis’ response video. Donning a washed out black and white filter and an overuse of the word devastated, all while rubbing his forehead for the entirety of the video, it could be claimed that the rapper doesn’t seem to care as much as he states he does. Although he states that he is attempting to help the families that have been affected, he, Drake, and others have been sued in the aftermath of the concert.

Many people are trying to ¨cancel¨ the rapper, which is garnering a mass amount of followers behind the movement, but I personally believe Scott is too large of a corporation to be cancelled just like that (although his career will take a steep dip temporarily). Many aren’t clear of everything that occurred, as the speculations of drug injections aren’t even solid enough to be proven as something that actually happened. Some even speculate this as a ¨ritual¨, pointing out his satanic imagery along with his uncaring take on what happened, but this is obviously not true. Even if this were a possibility (which it clearly isn’t), I do not believe that Travis Scott of all people would be the person to set up such a large-scale ploy. Either way, what happened was a tragedy, and although Travis should take some of the blame, too much of it is going onto him. Could he have handled the situation differently? Yes, absolutely. Could he have responded about the situation differently? Definitely.

The blame should not be laid entirely at the feet of Scott though, as Houston’s inspection services were clearly lacking, the crowd breaking in was uncontrollable, and the security was just not there (which goes back to Scott and Houston’s inspection services). The comparisons to other concert events gone wrong are also not helpful, as the circumstances and scale in these comparisons are completely different and most of what was happening may not have even been in Travis’ radar. All of this just goes to show how important proper inspection, security, and conduct in a concert or large-scale event is, as without this, it all just descends into chaos.