On Friday, Nov. 5, Travis Scott was set to perform his annual two-day long Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas. But what was supposed to be a fun concert for all attendees, instead turned into a tragic and unforgettable scene at the fault of Travis Scott, the venue workers and some of the concert-goers.
Before this event, it has been a known pattern that Travis Scott encouraged his fans to rush event gates and portray rowdy behavior at his performances. In 2015, Scott pleaded guilty to “disorderly conduct” charges for Chicago’s Lollapalooza music festival as he told his fans to jump the security barricades. And just two years later, Scott was again arrested on suspicion of inciting a riot at a concert in Bentonville, Arkansas. It’s obvious Scott only really cares about his audience numbers rather than the safety of his fans.
This was proven once more earlier this month at his Astroworld festival, but this time, causing 10 deaths, ranging from ages nine to twenty-seven, and hundreds of injuries. At an outside venue that is equipped to host over 200,000 people, it might not have seemed like an issue to have over 50,000 attend Astroworld fest. However, when Scott started to rile up his crowd, a surge pushed everyone to the front which caused people to suffocate and get trampled on.
In one video I watched, it was clear that the venue was not prepared to stop the mass overflow. It would have been impossible for the handful of security guards to try and stop the insane amount of people storming the field. And while this can definitely be blamed on the venue for not hiring enough security and not building a better barricade system, it was ultimately Scott’s fault for encouraging his fans to storm the show in the past.
The first time I heard about everything that took place was the night after on Nov. 6. It seemed like right after I learned about it, all of my social media accounts were flooded with updates and videos regarding Astroworld. Specifically, countless people were posting videos on Tik Tok, showing the audience that couldn’t move, were begging for help, and were being injured. After watching these short documentaries, I was heartbroken and frustrated that something preventable like this could happen.
Travis Scott posted a short one-minute and thirty-second video on his Instagram story, a social media device that allows a user to share a post for only 24 hours, on Nov. 7. In this temporary statement, he fidgeted with his face the entire time and even put a black and white filter over the video. How much more insincere could it get?
Scott never actually apologizes, but instead mumbles, “anytime I can make out anything that’s going on, I’d stop the show.” But in videos that were resurfaced, the story seems the exact opposite.
A concert attendee, Seanna McCarty, was seen climbing the stage and shouting “people are dying”. The cameraman and security guards all disregarded her and pushed her off of the stage. On her social media, she posted a five-page story of everything she went through. She writes “breathing became something only a few were capable of” and “if someone’s arms had been up, it was no longer a possibility to put it down”. Further into the story, she recounts a herd of people yelling for help, but everyone ignores them. I highly urge you to read her entire post at @seannafaith on Instagram to fully understand the severity of the situation.
Even though reading McCarty’s story gave me better insight into the tragedies that occurred, her point of view wasn’t needed because I had already witnessed everything she said online. I watched people fall into piles, unable to breathe. I watched an overhead video of the crowd swaying in motion, inert of their movements. I watched people struggle to pull audience members out of the crowd because the pressure between others surrounding them held them so firmly into place. I wasn’t even there, but just seeing a handful of one-minute videos was enough to invoke a horrible feeling inside of me.
I understand how people want to defend Travis Scott, but I can’t find any reason that he’s not in the wrong. Maybe with the headphones, you aren’t able to hear specific people over those who are chanting lyrics or just screaming in general. But there was one video that I saw where a crowd was chanting to “stop the show” clear as day and he bluntly ignored it and continued his set.
Furthermore, as a performer, you can 100 percent see everything that is going on. Scott had a complete birds-eye view of the audience, overlooking the crowd. There is no possible way he did not see the piles of people being stepped on or how most of his fans were unable to move.
Many artists, like Harry Styles and Adele, have stopped their show after seeing a single person faint in the back of the crowd. There were thousands of people in front of Scott, how would he not see this? As a perfect example, Niall Horan stopped his concert in Argentina and gave a quick safety speech: “Your security is my responsibility. There is a ton of room in the back of this room. We don’t want anyone to get hurt or squashed. This swaying is very dangerous. Let’s organize this before we go any further.”
That, in its entirety, is all Travis Scott needed to say to save lives that night. As a celebrity who thousands of people just came to see, he had all of the power in the world to be able to fix an issue like this and in such a simple manner. Instead, he ignored what he saw and continued to sing, further riling up the crowd.
For me, the most shameful part was when a fan got on top of one of the ambulances that pushed its way into the crowd and danced on top of it. One, there is no way Travis Scott did not see a man on top of a flashing emergency car, he should have said something. Why did he not stop the show when an emergency vehicle was trying to make its way through the crowd? Two, it is disgusting that the concert-goer thought it was okay to do this and he should be charged with hindering an emergency service vehicle.
Once people found his identity, he showed no remorse as well, making matters worse. On his Instagram story “@itzlune_,” which disappeared after 24 hours, he wrote: “This is how I know the crowd was full of baby butt soft ass people. We rage for real, I’m sorry you guys wanna have a sad day about it.”
Although Travis Scott has not yet been charged like in previous years, he is facing multiple lawsuits and is said to cover the funeral costs of those who passed due to the crowd surge. This is the bare minimum he can do, in my opinion.
But pointing fingers at the people to blame doesn’t change the fact that people lost their lives that night. This issue needs to be addressed and remembered for all celebrities, venue workers and spectators so nothing like this ever happens again. As a rule of thumb, I think it should be clear that concerts are supposed to be a fun experience for both the performer and the audience, not the cause of someone’s funeral.
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