Is the Astroworld Tragedy Travis Scott’s Fault?

Written by: Mira

Edited by: Martin

Visuals by: Ethan 

Rapper Travis Scott’s most recent concert at Astroworld Music Festival ended in complete chaos last weekend after a crushing disaster left 9 dead and 300 injured. Minutes after Scott began performing, a crowd surged forward to try to get closer to him, resulting in devastating consequences. Concert goers fainted and even experienced cardiac arrest as there was no room to breathe or move. The audience pleaded for help and for Scott to stop the show, only to be met with Scott’s indifference as he only stopped performing momentarily after seeing a fan pass out. Later, an ambulance tried moving through the dense crowd to reach injured crowd members, but Scott still remained unconcerned, telling people to commit a vulgar hand gesture instead of taking action to help the ambulance. His performance lasted for another painful 40 minutes before stopping completely, but by then it was too late. With proper action, the Astroworld Tragedy could have been de-escalated; however, Scott and his team’s irresponsibility and negligence have left us with one of the greatest tragedies in the music industry yet. 

Travis Scott is notorious for having wild concerts that often involve violence, are inconsiderate of audience members, and do not take into account possibly dangerous consequences. He frequently encourages fans to “rage” and promotes reckless behavior which has led to multiple incidents of serious injury. In 2015, Scott pleaded guilty to reckless conduct after he encouraged fans to climb over security barricades. In 2017, the dangerous consequences from his tendency to encourage violent behavior was further highlighted when a concert goer was paralyzed after being pushed off a balcony and dragged by Scott’s security team to the stage. Consequently, Scott should have realized safety comes first and taken accountability to make sure such events would not be repeated in the future. Sadly, it is evident that Scott has not learned from his past mistakes as he was more focused on his Astroworld performance than getting audience members immediate help. 

Although Scott is mostly to blame, the concert organizers, Live Nation Entertainment, are also at fault for negligence. Live Nation Entertainment should have intervened and stopped the show immediately after the chaos became evident. However, they allowed the event to unfold and did nothing until it was too late. At one point, two audience members approached a cameraman and pleaded for the show to be stopped but were ignored. It is true that poor management also contributed to this tragedy. Astroworld not only had a severely understaffed security team as there were only 505 event security staff members compared to 50,000 audience members, but also oversold tickets as people were allowed to run through the security gates without having a ticket, meaning the venue was not meant to support the amount of people that attended the concert. But, the biggest issue here is there was no effort to stop the concert.

Scott later tried to apologize on Instagram, but he ultimately came off as disingenuous. The 1 minute 30 second black and white video consisted of Scott rubbing his head multiple times and averting his eyes from the camera as he said he was working with officials, trying to provide the victims’ families with the support they need, and stated “I could just never imagine the severity of the situation.” Despite this, Scott never directly apologized or admitted that the tragedy was his fault. In addition, his actions during the concert did not align with what he said in the video. He mentioned his fans meant “the world” to him and he would stop the show, but he continued performing over the crowd’s chants to stop. 

The Astroworld Tragedy is haunting because it could have been stopped. It is baffling how performance and money were valued over human lives. Now, Scott and Live Nation are facing backlash and multiple lawsuits for negligence, but the fact remains that people lost their lives due to Scott’s irresponsible actions. Hopefully, Travis Scott will learn a valuable lesson and change for the better. But given his apathetic and insincere responses to his fans, it appears unlikely. 

Works Cited

Manno, Adam. “Travis Scott Has Pled Guilty TWICE for Encouraging Chaos at His Shows.” Mail Online, 7 Nov. 2021, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10174643/Travis-Scott-pled-guilty-TWICE-encouraging-fans-rush-stage.html. Accessed 9 Nov. 2021.

Patel, Vimal, and Sophie Kasakove. “What to Know about the Houston Astroworld Tragedy.” The New York Times, 7 Nov. 2021, http://www.nytimes.com/article/astroworld-festival-what-to-know.html. Accessed 9 Nov. 2021.

“Rappers Travis Scott, Drake Sued over Deadly Texas Concert Crush.” Channel News Asia, 8 Nov. 2021, http://www.channelnewsasia.com/world/astroworld-concert-crush-stampede-travis-scott-drake-sued-2297696. Accessed 9 Nov. 2021