By Mitch Cohen
There’s no denying that Travis Scott is one of the most energetic rappers of all time. While his songs have little substance lyrically, they make up for it with incredible production and a grandiose sense of scope that no other rapper can match. As for his live shows, they are infamous for their pyrotechnics and for being incredibly rowdy. However, this rowdiness can become deadly, which was, unfortunately, the case with Astroworld Fest 2021 after which to date, 10 people have died, including a nine-year-old.
Originally, this festival was going to be two nights of performances from the likes of SZA, Master P and several others. Sadly, this festival grew to become one of the most infamous concert events of the year thanks in large part to the number of people in attendance: 50,000 fans. They were so excited to see Scott that they ended up rushing through the gates and trampling fellow concertgoers. Around 9 pm is when the situation grew from bad to worse, as Scott took the stage.
“The crowd for whatever reason began to push and surge towards the front of the stage, which caused people in the front to become compressed; they were unable to escape the situation,” said Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Peña.
A memorial for the fans who passed away at Astroworld Festival 2021
The crowd was so large that it caused people to pass out and in several cases, like that of the nine-year-old boy, to become trampled. As of Nov. 24, 177 lawsuits have been filed against Scott, concert promotion group LiveNation, and even Drake, who was also accused of inciting a riot. Even though Scott agreed to cover the funeral and medical costs of those who were injured or killed, fans are outraged at him for endangering the lives of concertgoers. In an interview with ABC-10, frequent concertgoer Jasmine Smith said she was planning on attending the Rolling Loud Hip Hop Festival in December. However, after hearing about people dying from the crush, she quickly changed her mind. “I’ve heard of passing out at festivals. I’ve seen several people pass out at festivals before, but I’ve never heard of someone passing away,” said Smith.
After reading through this story myself, I had several mixed feelings about the Astroworld Festival 2021. On the one hand, I don’t blame Scott for causing the deaths. Due to how loud a concert environment can be, it must’ve been hard for people to communicate properly. But I agree with the media about stopping the show early. When people started passing out, Scott should’ve taken it as a sign to stop his set and help those who were crushed in the surging crowd. As for the lawsuits, these will hopefully serve as a wake-up call for Scott to be less reckless at any future performances. Performances before this were also marred with controversy, such as the 2017 concert that left a fan paralyzed.
What needs to change for future performances is the presence of stronger security measures. At the festival, there were security guards who had never worked at a concert before, which put a lot of pressure on them to keep everyone safe. I feel like LiveNation did a poor job of organizing the event, as the venue had way too many people there at one time. To make this festival a success, the organizers should’ve limited the number of people who entered the premises.
Despite all the controversy, I still support Travis Scott as a musician. However, I hope these lawsuits will give both him and the organizers the wake-up call they need to prevent disasters like this from happening again.