Tragedy in Astroworld: The history of chaos at Travis Scott concerts
By Jovani Alejandro Contreras
As fainted concertgoers were being treated by medics, Travis Scott continued to perform at the Friday night Astroworld Festival. An overpacked crowd of over 50,000 filled NRG Park to see the “Sicko Mode” rapper in Houston. Eight people were confirmed dead and hundreds more were hospitalized with injuries, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stated that the victim’s ages ranged from 14 to 27-years-old.
One concertgoer uploaded a video describing the experience. Visibly shaken, the Travis Scott fan gave his point of view from inside the crowd.
“It felt like we was in a concert in hell. You couldn’t see, you couldn’t breathe… there was so many bodies laid out. People were screaming help, trying to tell Travis Scott, the whole crowd was going ‘help, help’ and he just kept going.”
On Instagram, the user madddeline_ shared a similar experience: “I passed out because people were pushing up against me so much that I couldn’t breathe. People were begging the crew operating the stage lights and stuff around us to stop the concert and they wouldn’t”
Multiple videos show fans rushing the NRG Park gates, fighting past security to flood the already oversold arena. The stampede of fans pushed the crowd forward, crushing concertgoers close to the stage.
One video uploaded by Grove4Life on Twitter depicts fans outside of the stadium climbing over barricades while security guards did little to stop them. Scott and the concert organizers are facing major backlash from the media for failing to control the crowd or stop the concert.
The “Highest in the Room” rapper has been called out by victims for encouraging the chaotic behavior, allegedly telling fans to sneak in. Footage shared from the concert shows a mixed response from Scott, in some videos, he is seen pausing his performance to point out collapsed fans but other recordings depict Scott rapping while medics struggled to treat dying concertgoers.
The concert wasn’t stopped until 10:10 p.m. and it even ended with a firework display.
Scott’s concerts have a long history of danger and chaos, throughout his career, he has cultivated a fanbase of “ragers” who riot, stage dive, and even leap from balconies at concerts. It’s clear that Scott encouraged the behavior of his fan base and repeatedly created an unsafe environment at shows.
This is not the first time a “Cactus Jack” concert turned dangerous. In 2015, Scott was arrested for inciting the crowd at Lollapalooza. Scott was taken into custody for disorderly conduct after encouraging a crowd of 100,000 to ignore security and rush the stage. Several fans were injured.
At another concert in 2015, this time in Switzerland, Scott was crowd surfing and a rowdy fan attempted to steal his shoe. Scott stopped the show to spit on the man and demanded his “rager” fanbase to beat up the concertgoer.
“Being a rager is really a sense of freedom,” Travis Scott fan Mickey McMorris said in a 2015 article. “People try to attach bad stuff to it, but there’s nothing bad about being a rager. People just be having fun.”
The 2019 Travis Scott Netflix documentary “Look Mom I Can Fly” glorifies the Houston-born rapper’s “rager” fan base. The film depicts fans getting into fistfights and trampling over others; some get injured and are lifted by the crowd to waiting paramedics. In the documentary, Scott exclaims “aint a mosh pit if there are no injuries” before a previous Astroworld Festival.
Fans on social media have blamed the “rager culture” for the dangerous concerts. One user on a Travis Scott fan page shared his view on the fanbase.
“I can’t continue to support this man after the culture he’s been pushing for years finally caught up to him.” The user stated on the Travis Scott subreddit “He oversold this show & didn’t have proper staff.”
While previous shows became dangerous, this is the first time a Travis Scott show turned fatal. Scott has since responded on social media and apologized to the victim’s families; however, Scott is not the only one at fault.
The promoter of the concert, Live Nation Entertainment, also has a record of safety issues and has been sued in the past. Live Nation (the largest music promoter in the world) only provided 755 private security guards to control the crowd of 50,000 who easily fought past the gates.
The three-day Astroworld event has since been canceled and the concert is under investigation by the Houston Police Department. A memorial for the victims has been set up outside of the NRG Park arena where patrons lay flowers in memory of those who died Friday night.
Live Nation should be held accountable for the un-organization and lack of safety measures at the event. If Scott is able to make a comeback in the future, it is crucial that he condemns the dangerous “rage culture” that has traumatized victims and has left families grieving the loss of loved ones.
FEATURED IMAGE (at the top of this post): 2019 Astroworld entrance (Photo Credit: Gary Miller)