On November 6, 2021, Travis Scott held a show at Astroworld Festival, in Austin Texas. Due to the size of the crowd, lack of security, and irresponsible fan base, 8 fatalities and at least 300 injuries occurred. There are mixed opinions on who to blame; some say Travis is at fault, and others disagree. More details of the tragic event are yet to be discovered.
Astroworld Festival is a yearly event that brings together various artists to perform in a span of 1-2 days. It is run by 30 year old American rapper and singer Travis Scott, who is married to Kylie Jenner. This year the event took place in Austin Texas. The event has always been named after Travis’ most popular album: “Astroworld”. Due to the cancellation of the festival in 2020, Travis wanted to come back strong, expanding the lineup and having a virtual Astroworld themed show. The artists set to perform were SZA, Tame Impala, Bad Bunny, and many others.
Travis was the main attraction of this year’s concert, the most awaited and anticipated one of the whole event. Just after 9p.m., a countdown for Travis’ appearance on stage began. That countdown initiated the moment where things toppled and got out of control. The 30 minute countdown led to multiple people rushing to get to the stage. The pushing and shoving flooding the area where the audience stood rapidly got worse as the minutes passed, and as stated by a nurse that was at the event, “all of a sudden, people pressed up against each other and were pushing forward and backward”. Once his show began, it only took a few minutes for the audience to feel suffocated. According to the medical services that were there, people were being transported on stretchers as early as 9:38 p.m.- only 8 minutes after the concert began. It all happened in the blink of an eye; all of a sudden “we had several people down on the ground experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or medical episode and so we immediately started doing CPR and moving people”, according to the Texan Chief of the Fire Department.
The chaos ensued until the end of Travis’ show, and resulted in 9 fatalities and more than 300 helpless people at the field hospital. The causes of the fatalities are still being investigated, and the number of people in critical condition as of now is uncertain. Victims’ ages ranged from 14-27, the youngest being a freshman in high school, all having passed away at or immediately after the festival. There are various rumors as to their cause of death; including witnesses stating that there were people in the crowd being stabbed by needles.
The professionalism of the festival's security is another topic of huge debate. There are videos where fans can be seen bringing down metal detectors and gates to invade the concert. It is said that security began to quit their jobs as time went on, overwhelmed by the amount of people they would have to manage. An interview with a security guard highlighted how most guards weren’t properly instructed at all, and background checks were done as quickly as possible: the guard stated that it felt as though “they just needed bodies, like they were hiring anyone who passed a background test.”
The Travis Scott fan base and concert attendees have been highly criticized and partly blamed for the crowd surge and uncontrollable chaos. Crowd surges have always been an issue that performers have had to deal with in the past, and Travis’ concerts are known to be “rowdy” and extremely “hype”. Young adults and teens would push as strong as possible to reach the stage, doing whatever they could to get some attention from their idol. People were dancing on cop cars/ambulances and were completely ignorant when it came to spacial awareness and looking out for others in the pit.
Travis Scott also has a reputation for encouraging others to partake in risky behavior, being suggesting crowd surges and allowing fans to join him on stage. Scott was even attested in 2017 for encouraging dangerous behavior at one of his shows, causing several injuries as fans aimed to rush the stage. According to various witnesses and videos, it is evident that Travis heard fans pleading for help and saw ambulances among attendees at Astroworld, but didn't stop the show.
Scott posted a short apology story on instagram stating that “My fans mean the world to me and I always just really want to leave them with a positive experience. And anytime I can make out, you anything that’s going on, you know, I stop the show and, you know, help them get the help they need,”. Scott is allegedly trying to do everything he can to aid in the recovery of the injured ones and has offered to pay all funeral costs for the 8 victims of the series of events.
Was this tragedy the result of unpredictable, uncontrollable events, or was it something that could’ve been avoided? Travis Scott, Drake, and his producers have been sued for the occurrence of the fatalities and injuries, and the cause will remain under investigation until things settle down.
May Bharti Shahani, John Hilgert, Brianna Rodriguez, Jacob Jurinek, Franco Patiño, Axel Acosta, Rudy Peña, Madison Dubiski, and Danish Baig rest in peace.