A ticket to tragedy: Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival highlights concert-going dangers

Nicole McIsaac, News Editor

Rapper Travis Scott engages with his fans during a 2017 concert. (Photo by Enjoy The Show/Flickr)

Ten people, 10 families, were changed forever by the deadly Travis Scott Astroworld music festival Nov. 5, at NRG Park in Houston, Texas. And why?

Squished crowds, drugs and alcohol, loud music, a post-quarantine push and lack of proper concert management are to blame.

Despite any kind of reasoning behind this catastrophe, those 10 people between the ages of 9 and 27 will never get to return home to their families, never fulfill their lives’ journeys — and that number could increase. The rest of the 50,000 people in the crowd are left injured and scarred for life. This also left society in shambles, wondering how an incident like this could take place.

As the events unraveled, social media flooded with videos from inside the concert, many of which left a chill running down my spine as I continued to scroll through various threads and posts. I kept thinking to myself, “Why is the concert still going on?”

Why did Astroworld continue to rage on as people were crushed to death and thousands begged for help?

No one should ever lose their life at a concert, and artists have a responsibility to make sure danger does not interfere with the experience of attending a festival such as Astroworld. This tragedy changed my entire outlook on concerts.

As a concert enthusiast, I cannot imagine being in that packed crowd and feeling the way those people did that night, helpless, left to die, wondering if they will ever make it home.

After seeing how the events at this festival unfolded, I can no longer confidently say I am comfortable stepping into that kind of setting again. The “what if” factor that will always ruin any kind of enjoyment that comes from attending in-person concerts again.

As people in the crowd screamed and begged Scott to stop the concert, he continued to perform for over 40 minutes. And that’s what makes it worse.When he actually decided to call for security, the damage was already done and lives had already been lost.

While some people defend him arguing that he had no idea what was happening, there’s evidence that reveals that he could see into the crowd. At one point during the concert, he playfully shouted out people swinging on trees in the back. He urged management to “turn the lights on” and encouraged the crowd “to make some noise” for the people in the trees.

The fact that he asked the crowd to make some noise while individuals laid on the ground screaming as loud as they physically can. There is no excuse that he was unaware of the events that were unfolding right in front of his eyes. None.

In a TikTok posted by @dieghtx30, the user recorded their experience at Astroworld, portraying the panic in people’s faces, screams throughout the crowd and bodies being trampled on. Someone in the video even stated, “Somebody’s dying, somebody is gonna die,” while Scott just continued with his performance.

There should have been preventive measures taken to prevent this disaster from happening. Scott and the rest of the management team could have been more mindful of the state of the crowd, and they unfortunately acted too late. The outcome of this situation is now in their hands.

I have always been a huge fan of Scott, listening to every song and album on repeat. However, after this instance, the skip button will be the only action I take when one of his songs plays on my phone.

And really, it’s a shame. I used to love to blast his songs, especially ones from the “Astroworld” album itself. I followed along his family journey with Kylie Jenner, daughter Stormi Webster and their soon-to-be child on the way.

His artistry was admirable, but now his character speaks for itself.

Illustration by Amanda Riha

After the concert, Scott attended a party at Dave & Busters hosted by surprise performer Drake. Scott allegedly did not know of the deaths or anything that occured at the concert, according to NBC News. Once alerted of the situation, Scott apparently left the party and went home.

Although I acknowledge the fact that he did not stay and live up the night, I feel that he couldn’t have just discovered the situation at that moment.

Later, he took to social media, posting an Instagram story to address the tragedy that happened at his music festival. While watching the video, Scott continuously rubbed his head over and over in an unusual way. It felt like a staged and unemotional task that he needed to do to save his reputation.

He then posted a statement on Twitter stating, “I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night. My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld festival.”

If he was actually so distraught by the turn of events, why did he keep singing song after song? Why did he continue to sing as unconscious individuals were pulled out of the deadly sea of the crowd? Based on the video of him spotting the people hanging from trees, I believe he in fact did have some understanding that something was awry.

It’s awful. It is sickening to watch and mortifying to know the loud music playing is what someone was hearing as it could have been the last minutes of their life.

Concert organizing company Scoremore released a statement on Twitter saying that all Astroworld attendees will receive a full refund, and they “are working on ways to support attendees, the families of victims, and staff.”

Scott and the organizers behind the event need to be held accountable for this, and need to do more for the individuals who were directly impacted by this festival.

This is not an incident to simply brush off and forget as time permits. This should be a reminder of how dangerous concerts can be.

Looking back into The Who’s 1979 concert at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio, 11 people were killed and eight were severely injured after a stampede of fans flooded through the arena’s doors to get into the concert.

While events at concerts like this have happened before, Astroworld needs to be a wake-up call for not only performing artists but for regular concert attendees as well.

For anyone defending Scott, the narrative should not simply revolve around him, despite the responsibility he has. The real focus here is the individuals who did not make it home that night, the kids who hugged their parents goodbye, not knowing it would be their last time.