OPINION: Travis Scott culpable for Astroworld tragedies



Travis Scott performs at Day 1 of the Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Houston. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

Opinions expressed in the Op/Ed section of The Knight Crier are not necessarily reflective of the views of the entire staff of the KC. 

While Travis Scott concerts have had the reputation of being incredibly intense ragers, no one imagined the outcome of the rapper’s 2021 Astroworld Festival to have nine deaths and hundreds of injuries. The casualties obviously can’t be blamed on Scott entirely, but the tragedy could have been prevented if Scott had genuinely cared about the safety and welfare of his fans.

A horde of Scott’s fans broke through the VIP entrance on the day of his performance, as shown in security footage. The number of fans at the festival totaled approximately 50,000 people, a number far too high to be safely monitored at a festival. As the concert progressed, the herd of 50,000 fans rushed toward the stage, and many concertgoers were trapped and trampled underneath the crowd. Witnesses report giving CPR to unconscious victims or gasping for air in the incited crowd.

After the show concluded, Scott attended an after-party at a Dave and Busters, claiming he had no knowledge of the casualties. However, sometime during the concert, an ambulance with its lights flashing was seen trying to make its way through the crowd, making it a mystery as to how Scott had no awareness of what was going on. The emergency vehicle was clearly in his line of vision. In addition to this, Scott continued to perform for approximately thirty-seven minutes after officials had declared the concert a mass casualty.

Last week’s deadly concert wasn’t the first performance Scott had seen gone awry due to his own ignorance. During a 2015 Lollapalooza performance, police claimed that Scott told attendees to climb over security barricades. The situation was remediated immediately, though, as security responded quickly to the audience’s following of Scott’s words. The rapper was later taken into custody and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor reckless conduct and was sentenced to one year of court supervision.

The second incident that resulted in Scott’s arrest took place in 2017 after a show in Rogers, Arkansas. Scott was charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, and endangering the welfare of a minor. Police said that Scott had encouraged people to rush the stage and bypass security protocol, which resulted in the injuries of two people. In 2018, two of the charges were dismissed, but Scott pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and had to pay over $6,800 to the two people injured at his show.

Scott has clearly demonstrated recklessness regarding the actions of his fans during his performances, and last Friday was no different. Stopping a concert because an audience member’s safety is in jeopardy has been frequently documented by various other famous musicians. Adele, Lady Gaga, and Harry Styles have all stopped concerts simply because a concert-goer had fainted. The first call for help from the crowd at Scott’s festival was made forty minutes before the show actually commenced, giving Scott plenty of time to address and prevent the tragedy.

As the performer, Scott has control of his own concert and can stop whenever he chooses to do so. Scott has previously paused one of his concerts to physically and verbally admonish a fan who had tried to steal his shoe. The man was later thrown out of the concert but not before hearing Scott encourage his fans to attack him. It seems that retrieving his shoe and threatening one of his concert-goers is a much more important reason for him to stop his show than the obviously dangerous situation created when tens of thousands of people rush toward a stage.

With screams for help coming from the crowd mixed with the lights of ambulance sirens glaring into the night, the horrible tragedy that unfolded at Scott’s festival was impossible to miss. Ultimately, the rapper did nothing to halt his performance, and while Scott should not take all of the blame for the casualties, he bears responsibility for his negligence in encouraging, and not stopping the escalation of the crowd that led to the deaths of nine people and injuries of hundreds.