BSA POV: Astroworld Festival

Andrew Lang, Copy

Since 2018, rapper Travis Scott has thrown a festival every year to commemorate the rapper’s musical ingenuity and influence on the genre. In stark contrast to previous Astroworld Festivals, members of the crowd chanted “Stop the Show!” as crowd surges made up of thousands of fans trampled fellow concert-goers, injuring thousands and killing nine to date. Many have begun to wonder: who is really at fault in this situation?

Some have remarked that the blame cannot be put on one person for a tragedy of this scale: “When I heard the news about the tragedy, I wasn’t very shocked. I knew that Travis Scott concerts were known for chaotic energy, and that he encourages fans to rage. When I learned more about the details I got very suspicious of the situation; I do think that it was more Travis’s fault than any, but definitely a little too complex of a deal to put the blame on one person,” says sophomore Bella Ogborn. “He definitely had a responsibility as the artist to stop the show because…he was really the only person in control of the crowd. At one point there was even an ambulance trying to make its way through the crowd, so that to me is a tell-tale sign that the show should have been stopped. There were multiple attempts made by people in the crowd to stop the show. Multiple individuals tried to warn the crew of the severity, but some didn’t do anything to help, so I can’t understand why people would blame only Travis,” says Ogborn. 

Besides the chaos of the concert and the solemn impact it left behind, many people feel that Scott was not apologetic enough for what happened. “It was very unfortunate, especially for the families, and I feel really, really bad for the victims and the survivors,” says junior Shamus Sawyer, respectfully. “You’d think that he’d maybe say something about it afterwards, because I don’t think he said anything other than the video of him sighing and acting like a child confessing something to his parents” Sawyer says. “I think that the families and survivors deserve a lot more respect and empathy for how horrible the whole thing was. I mean, being trampled to death is a horrible way to die and I think Travis should have been a lot more apologetic towards the families of the people who were literally crushed to death by other people. It’s a very sad deal,” Sawyer says.

Due to the lack of action taken by security and Scott himself, people have begun to compare the event to past concerts. “You could definitely compare the time when Chester Bennington from Linkin Park had to stop the show to help an injured person out of the crowd then he proceeded to tell the crowd that he had to look out for safety first and that nobody gets hurt, that’s number one. If Travis would have encouraged his fans more like Chester did, maybe Astrofest would have turned out differently” Ogborn says. Despite the arguments in Scott’s defense, various sources have questioned if Scott could actually see the chaos in the crowd or not. “I saw people fighting in crowds of other concerts and people on stage can clearly see them and pause it and try to kick them out, so there shouldn’t be an argument that you can’t see the crowd, and, not to flex but, as someone who has been in the bright lights on stage, people screaming and singing along, it is not difficult to see people in the crowd which was also displayed when he stopped the show because of a shoe-related incident of not-very epic proportions” says Sophomore Spencer Timkar, who clearly enjoys the spotlight.

Sadly enough, the chances of crowd surges of this proportion are low, but not indefinite. 

“I feel like it’s somewhat a risk that you have to take going to a concert, and it’s a dumb thing that happens, but it happens unfortunately. I’ve seen crowd surges and I think it’s just a known thing that people kind of have to be aware of, especially at a concert like Travis Scott’s where everyone is going crazy and throwing themselves all over the place” Sawyer says.

Despite the debatable liability, the tragedy serves as a reminder of the dangers of large-scale crowd surges and how mismanagement of such large events can lead to grave danger.