Casualties at Astroworld: Travis Scott Should Have Stopped

On+Friday%2C+Nov.+5%2C+at+the+Astroworld+Festival+in+Houston%2C+Texas%2C+a+tragedy+ensued+that+should+have+never+been+possible+in+the+first+place.+%28Courtesy+of+Twitter%29

On Friday, Nov. 5, at the Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas, a tragedy ensued that should have never been possible in the first place. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Ava Carreiro, Contributing Writer

On Friday, Nov. 5, at the Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas, a tragedy ensued that should have never been possible in the first place. What the festival’s over 50,000 attendees thought would be a fun night of singing and dancing quickly turned into a fight for their lives. As of Nov. 16, there have been ten casualties from this festival, with victims as young as 9 years old. On top of that, 25 people were hospitalized and hundreds were injured, including a 10-year-old on life support. This deadly concert was completely avoidable but resulted from the irresponsibility and neglect of Travis Scott, who runs the annual music festival, Live Nation and the Astroworld Festival event staff.

Many components contributed to the catastrophe at Travis Scott’s festival, and each of them shares the blame for the preventable deaths that took place. Scott is facing backlash as videos of him at the festival spread online. In these videos, he is seen singing and dancing on stage while looking into the audience as ambulances drive through the crowd, with many concert-goers fainting and in need of CPR. Despite the commotion, he went on to perform his entire set — the concert was later categorized as a “mass casualty event.” Hypocritically, Scott chose not to stop this concert as he watched the horrors that unfolded in the audience but conveniently stopped a concert in 2015 when a fan attempted to steal his shoe

Travis Scott also encouraged attendees to sneak into the concert through various social media posts, which led to overcrowding and worsened the deadly crowd surge. Scott has a history of inciting violence at his concerts, having spit on the aforementioned fan and encouraging the crowd to beat him. He has also been arrested twice and sued multiple times as a result of his reckless behavior. 

Concert promoter Live Nation, who partnered with Scott to host the event, is also responsible for the concert’s poor planning and the resulting turmoil . Although the venue could only fit 50,000 people, there could have been over 200,000 there, according to Houston fire chief Samuel Peña. The approximate 500 security staff who worked the event were not nearly enough to protect 50,000 people. They were especially ill-prepared to protect those who snuck in after the headliner encouraged his fans to break barricades to enter the venue.

Firsthand accounts from concertgoers report that the EMS personnel for the event were extremely understaffed and unprepared, with some taking pulses and performing CPR incorrectly. Fans also recorded videos of two attendees climbing up on stage and yelling to cameramen working the performance. “Somebody is dead!” they said, pointing to the crowd. In the videos, the staff ignore their pleas and let the concert continue. The people in charge of this event, including the stage crew and Travis Scott, had the power to shut down or even temporarily pause the performance, but they chose not to. 

There is truly no excuse for Scott’s lack of action. There are plenty of examples of other performers better handling similar situations. Numerous celebrities have halted their performances for their fans’ safety. In 2011, Adele paused her singing to bring attention to a fan who had fainted in the crowd. She demanded that medical personnel respond immediately, even pointing them to where the person was and asking attendees to clear a path. She only resumed singing once she was sure that the staff properly took care of the fan. In 2019, A$AP Rocky encountered very similar circumstances to the Astroworld festival when he performed at the Rolling Loud festival. While on stage, he noticed that some concertgoers were being trampled on the ground. He instantly stopped the music and refused to continue performing until all of the attendees were on their feet and directed the rest of the crowd to help those who had fallen. Videos of these situations went viral after the mayhem at Astroworld, and they show how Travis Scott could have easily paused the performance once he realized something was wrong. Essentially, he could have acted but chose not to. 

The deaths from the Astroworld festival should have never been possible to begin with, and the people in the crowd are certainly not the only ones to blame. Travis Scott, Live Nation and the event staff shared responsibility for what happened to the victims. Instead, the crowd of young people had to save the lives of those next to them. People who fainted were crowd-surfed to the nearest EMS personnel, concertgoers performed CPR on each other and those who were close enough to the stage climbed up to bring attention to the chaos to no avail. The tragic deaths from this concert were completely preventable, and this horrific event should live in history as a lesson learned for every concert performer that follows.

Ava Carreiro, GSB ’24, is a marketing major from New Providence, N.J.