Nikki Idelson ’22
On Nov. 5, Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert quickly turned from fun to tragedy. The crowd pushed towards the stage as a rowdy mosh pit, leaving hundreds injured and a few dead.
Scott, a native of Houston, TX, has become one of the most popular artists in recent years. He is most well-known for his hit album, Astroworld, which was released in 2018. The Wall Street Journal notes that Scott “has a history of encouraging raucous behavior at shows.” His incitement of such behavior was no different at his Nov. 5 concert.
In a now-deleted Tweet, prior to the beginning of this performance, Scott wrote, “we still sneaking the wild ones. !!!!!” This Tweet encouraged thousands of people to storm the concert venue, which lacked proper security, and to easily gain entry without tickets.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the deadly surge of the crowd began at approximately 9:38 P.M. People began to rush toward the stage, with many concertgoers falling and being trampled over. At this time, the crowd was estimated to have grown to about 50,000 individuals.
A few hundred people were taken to the hospital to be treated. NPR reports that nine people have died so far, with several others still in the hospital. Those who lost their lives ranged from 14 to 27 years old. The fact that all of the individuals who died were fairly young is devastating.
Many blame Scott himself for the tragedy, accusing him of encouraging the reckless behavior that resulted in injury and loss of life. According to The Wall Street Journal, prior to the concert, Houston’s police chief “said that he had asked Mr. Scott’s team to work with the police and watch their social media messaging.” Evidently, with Scott encouraging fans to sneak into the concert and storm up to the front of the stage, this did not occur.
Scott has also been blamed by many for not stopping the concert when he became aware that people were becoming injured. Although, as The Wall Street Journal reports, “he paused the show on multiple occasions when he thought someone in the crowd was in distress, moves they say pointed out the issues to security.” Some believe that Scott should have ended the show when he realized that several people were being injured; however, as The Wall Street Journal explains, city officials “didn’t want to end the show immediately out of concern that such a move could spark a riot among Mr. Scott’s young, boisterous fans.”
Scott has since stated that he was unaware of what was happening at first, which is why he continued with his performance. However, some have found this hard to believe as it was difficult not to see the surge in the crowd as people rushed towards the front of the stage. Scott released an apology video in which he said that his team will be working closely with the Houston police and fire departments to figure out exactly what occurred, as the question remains as to whether there was another factor, such as drugs laced with fentanyl being spread among fans, that contributed to the tragedy.
Across the nation, thoughts and prayers are going out to all of the families that lost loved ones.