Astroworld: Who is at fault?

Natalie Lemmen '24, Maggie Quinn '22, Staff Writer, Copy Editor

Maggie: Travis Scott is at fault.
Looking back, many of the videos that were circulating around social media during the first night of the Astroworld Festival continue to haunt me.

Careless revelers who continued to mosh on top of ambulances and around paramedics as they desperately tried to save the injured. Kylie and Kendall Jenner, along with Kylie’s daughter Stormi, watching the concert from a safe area, unaware of the chaos that was going on. The people that were desperately screaming for help were basically ignored by Travis Scott and his crew . In fact, he only stopped momentarily when he noticed the medics working on a patient, said an auto-tuned “yeah” and continued on with his show. And that video continues to make my blood boil.

Ten people didn’t deserve to die as a result of the Astroworld Festival. They traveled to Houston from around the United States to see their favorite artists perform, not to be trampled to death as a result of careless fans who continued to rage in the midst of the chaos.

As the founder and the headlining artist of the Astroworld Festival, I believe that Travis Scott should have a sense of responsibility for the tragic events at his music festival. As the person who was tasked with choosing which artists were going to perform and at what times, Scott should’ve made his fans his number one priority at this priority. While a surprise appearance from Drake is sure to get fans excited to attend the festival, Scott and his team, along with event organizer Live Nation Entertainment, should have done more to ensure that 50,000 people could be able to arrive safely and attend performances without the risk of getting injured or killed. This could’ve been done so by increasing the presence of first responders (especially paramedics), who could’ve been able to swiftly assist in the event of a mass-casualty event, which therefore could prevent any serious injuries or fatalities.

Second, there were so many red flags surrounding both the Astroworld Festival itself, as well as at many of Travis Scott’s concerts and appearances at other festivals throughout his career. At the previous festival in 2019, three people were injured after being trampled during a stampede while trying to enter the venue. In 2015, Scott encouraged his fans to attack a man who had stolen his shoe while crowd-surfing at a music festival in Switzerland. Later that year, he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after telling fans during his performance at Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago to ignore security protocols and to rush onto the stage. Then in 2017, Scott was arrested yet again for the exact same charge, this time during a concert in Arkansas. And in that same year, Scott was faced with a lawsuit from a fan who fell off a balcony and was onto the stage during a concert in New York City, an event which left the man temporarily paralyzed and was blamed on the exact same thing- Scott’s incitement of the crowd.

While getting a crowd excited and hyped up during a concert is all well and good, telling fans to ignore safety protocols and potentially hurt themselves is dangerous and life-threatening. This is something that both law enforcement and Live Nation Entertainment should have been aware of previously before this event was even supposed to happen. And throughout the entire day, Scott ignored many of the warnings that were given to him by security officials, only caring about himself and his actions. In fact, Scott’s lack of recognizing the chaos going on during his concert and the fact that he allegedly went to an afterparty at the end of his performance tells the public that he only cares about himself and his entourage.

Because of this self-centered behavior, I believe that this is the main reason why Travis Scott, Drake, and Live Nation Entertainment are at the center of so many lawsuits now. 10 people did not deserve to die during a music festival. Festivals are meant to be places where you get to have fun and listen to live music and partake in many activities, but with a lack of proper training and a touch of negligence, these fun events end up leading into chaos and eventual tragedy, something that I believe Travis Scott should have learned by now. Instead, he’s ended up learning the hard way- something that is probably going to cost him his musical career and his reputation as a big-name celebrity in the entertainment industry.

 

Natalie: Management and security are at fault..
On Friday Nov. 5, 2021 rapper Travis Scott held his two-day music festival, ASTROWORLD. The festival took a turn for the worse after massive crowd surges and overcrowding, which resulted in 10 deaths, including that of a 9-year-old boy. The concert held an estimated 50,000 people in the venue. The lack of force from security and poor management of the festival, caused this to end the way it did.

Looking back at the hours before the crowd surges happened, the signs of chaos approaching were evident. If there had been more structure to the checking-in portion, possibly 5,000-9,000 people that were unscanned would have been held out. Reports of chaos and violence that the entry of the festival created an overcrowded environment very rapidly.

At music festivals as large as Travis Scott’s ASTROWORLD, there are procedures set in place when dealing with crowds that are in distress and crying out for help. It is clear that Scott’s team had no plan for a tragedy like this, and struggled to help due to the panic and chaos at the scene. Security guards were giving little to no communication with the crowd after people were screaming and pleading for help.

Throughout the festival, not once do we see any sort of security of management go to the stage and address the issues face- to- face. This does not mean Scott was 100 percent unaware of what was going on in the audience, but the problems are very clear from what we can see on video. Although the management of the festival did not work directly under Scott, it was still his team’s responsibility for the safety of everyone at the event.

The event left fans traumatized, injured, and fearful to attend another event like Astroworld. Several fans came out on social media sharing their thoughts expressing that they are unsure how they made it out alive. Fans wanted an apology from Scott himself after all the money lost and trauma induced by the festival.

On November 6, Scott took to Instagram with an apology and was quickly mocked with claims that it was “emotionless” and didn’t seem real. There are things that we don’t know about how Scott is held by his management and what he is allowed to come forward with, but there was a mass agreement on the way his apology felt “insincere”
After reflecting on the festival, many factors that went into it could’ve been changed easily so that the whole situation could have been avoided. The devastating festival left fans wanting justice for the lives lost and people left traumatized.