Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival calls for a larger discussion about the safety of music concerts

Students discuss Scott’s responsibilities following the deaths of 10 attendees

Gauri Manoj

The album cover for Scott’s third studio album, “Astroworld,” serves as the namesake for Astroworld Festival.

Rapper Travis Scott held his annual Astroworld Festival on Nov. 5 in Houston with a crowd of 50,000 people at NRG Park. As Scott performed his set, bodies were crushed against each other as the audience surged forward, ultimately ending the night with eight fans dead after being trampled in the crowd and two dying later from injuries, the youngest victim being a 9-year-old boy. 

Clips of the tightly packed crowd and people screaming for the show to stop surged on social media. In the past month, Scott has sparked controversy on social media from celebrities and fans for his alleged negligence during the concert and lack of responsibility for the lives lost. Senior Tara Suresh shares that she first read about the concert’s events on a news app, yet only grasped the severity of what happened after watching videos from fans on TikTok. 

Suresh agrees with the people on social media that Scott deserves the backlash he has received following Astroworld Festival, as she notices that even his previous concerts have been notably intense due to Scott “cultivat[ing] a rowdy nature in fans.” In ninth grade, Suresh almost attended a Scott concert during finals week, but decided not to go since the only available tickets were in the mosh pit, an area of a concert where audience members dance and jump against each other, sometimes violently. 

I’m not worried about attending future concerts — I’m just worried about attending future Travis Scott concerts,” Suresh said. “I would be a lot more wary and vigilant when buying the tickets and going, especially as a small, skinny person. Everyone’s moshing and I get why it’s fun, but you can’t cross that line [of having] too many people.” 

Similar to Suresh, junior Itai Lavi acknowledges that while he feels Scott is at fault for the events that took place, there were multiple other factors to blame for the disorganization of the concert, like the overselling of tickets, which led to a packed venue, as well as the lack of intervention by security during the event. 

“I don’t know if there’s one specific thing to blame,” Lavi said. “You could blame Travis for not stopping the show — if people are yelling, ‘Stop the show,’ and you see ambulances coming through the crowd and people jumping on them, I think you could sense that something was wrong. I think it’s a disappointing event, but in the long run, I think it could be a growing point for Travis so I hope he learns from his mistakes.”

If people are yelling, ‘Stop the show,’ and you see ambulances coming through the crowd and people jumping on them, I think you could sense that something was wrong.

— Junior Itai Lavi

While junior Lucy Choy feels disappointed that Scott didn’t stop the show, she explains that she “didn’t expect much more” from Scott based on his previous actions. Referencing a lyric in his song “Stargazing,” where he raps, “It ain’t a moshpit if it ain’t no injuries / I got ‘em stage divin’ out the nosebleeds,” Choy believes that Scott encourages dangerous behavior from his fans and should take greater responsibility during future concerts.  

After Astroworld Festival, many concert venues have implemented stricter safety precautions, like Rolling Loud California increasing its age limit to 18 on Nov. 22 to avoid younger children getting injured. Choy, Lavi and Suresh all predict that future concerts will continue to tighten their rules as they have already noticed videos on social media of other artists stopping shows to check on fans. Suresh believes Scott’s concerts in particular should implement high security measures, and Choy even suggests Scott should take a break from performing in order to handle the grievances properly.  

He’s going to be more vigilant,” Suresh said. “I don’t know if it’s because celebrities have this huge conscience and they don’t want people to get hurt, or if it’s because he’s getting dragged in the mud for this right now and nobody else wants to go through that.”

Scott took to Instagram and Twitter the following day to address the situation through an apology video, which Choy, Suresh and Lavi felt was a disingenuous response that lacked accountability. In the past month, Scott has faced numerous lawsuits from the victims’ families and had to cancel his performance at the Day N’ Vegas Concert on Nov. 13. 

While many people online condemn Scott for not taking stricter safety measures and accountability, Choy believes that Scott can never truly be a victim of cancel culture. Choy feels that it will take a relatively short amount of time before the controversy “dies down,” and that fans will return to listening to Scott’s music once again, especially after Scott’s highly anticipated album “Utopia” is released, which has been delayed until after 2021.  

“I don’t think cancel culture works,” Choy said. “I think people should get canceled, but I don’t think it’s actually effective. You can’t really implement cancel culture because people who actually listen to his music aren’t saying things like, ‘Boycott Travis,’… they’re still going to listen to his new album.”

On Nov. 8, Scott announced he would cover the cost of the victims’ funerals, an offer that the youngest victim’s family rejected. Despite his attempts to help the victims’ families, Suresh feels disappointed with Scott’s response to the casualties during the concert and after in his apology video. As a fan of Scott since seventh grade, Suresh debates whether she will continue to support him by keeping up the “Astroworld” poster in her bedroom. In the upcoming months, Suresh would like to see Scott publicly address the faults of Astroworld Festival, clearly explain how he will ensure safety at future concerts and aid the grieving families to the best of his abilities. 

“[When I watched his video], I wasn’t angry — I was more like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’” Suresh said. “He was just making it worse for himself, and as a fan, we can only defend [him] so far. If [he’s] going to do stuff like that, [he] can’t expect support back. If he wants to make this better for himself and make it right, he needs to run through everything that went on and take accountability.”