The Tragedy of Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival

The “T” in Travis officially stands for “tragedy” when we look back on the 2021 version of Astroworld. Videos from the so-called festival depict a crowd of 50,000 people struggling to breathe, with some shouting for help as they and their loved ones get trampled.

Earlier this month, on November 5 and 6, Travis Scott hosted the third iteration of his famous music festival Astroworld. Scott, known for his hyperkinetic events, planned to host more attendees than the other two times he held the event. However, the festival that many young music-lovers looked forward to took a turn for the horrid.

According to New York Times, the two-day Astroworld music festival organized by Live Nation and Scott had transformed in an instant from a celebration to a struggle for life. When the rapper took the stage at 9 pm, the crowd felt a surge as attendees tried to move to the front to catch a glimpse of the celebrity. And the moving never stopped, leading to shoving and trampling, which would take the lives of young attendees and cause injuries to many.

While it was clear something was going wrong, Scott continued performing, sometimes even urging the crowd to rage. However, if we must give him credit, he did acknowledge when the ambulance came at around 9:30 pm, but he recovered soon after and went back to telling the crowd to shake the ground.

Live Nation stopped the concert around 30 minutes earlier than when they planned it to end. Even so, based on the New York Times, the event ended 40 minutes after city officials said the mass casualty event had begun. It is unclear how much of the chaos people on the stage could see. Furthermore, the Houston police chief, Troy Finner, said that there was fear regarding rioting against the early ending of the concert.

The venue was supposedly not overcrowded at all, as it can host 200,000 people. Moreover, because of crowd control issues during Astroworld in 2019, officials and concert organizers increased security. Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston, even said, “We had more security over there than we had at the World Series games,” Therefore, we can only blame members of the audience who continued stampeding to the front and Scott, who repeatedly encouraged the crowd. We can also blame the event organizers, who did not employ as many medical experts as they should have.

During the incident, as we know of, we lost ten lives. While most of the media has been seeing these people as numbers, we owe it to ourselves, as humans, to learn something about who they were.

  • John Hilgert (14) was a high school freshman and baseball player from Memorial Senior High School. He was known for his kindness towards his team members, and his favorite color was green.
  • Brianna Rodriguez (16) was a junior at Heights High School and was part of the dance team. She was welcoming to others and was the type to reach out when you looked lost.
  • Franco Patiño (21) and Jacob “Jake” Jurinek (21) were childhood best friends in college from Naperville, Illinois. Franco was studying mechanical engineering and loved playing rugby. Jacob had a passion for art and media.
  • Rodolfo “Rudy” Peña (23) was raised in Laredo, Texas. He was a J.W. Nixon High School Varsity Football Player. “Upon his high school graduation in 2018, he furthered his studies in the hope of one day joining the United States Border Patrol. He was attending Laredo College to pursue a degree in criminal justice and concurrently was employed as a physical therapist.”
  • Madison Dubiski (23) was a former Varsity cheerleader and member of the National Charity League at Cy-Fair High School. She studied at the University of Mississippi, and her favorite color was pink.
  • Danish Baig (27) died saving his fiancee and high school love, Olivia. As his brother remembers him, Danish was a Dallas Cowboys fan, a gamer, a music lover, and a car enthusiast. He died only days away from his birthday.
  • Axel Acosta (21) was a junior at Western Washington University and was interested in computer science. It was his first time attending an event like Astroworld alone.
  • Bharthi Shahani (22) was to earn a degree in electronic systems engineering from Texas A&M in the Spring. She planned to take over the family business once she graduated and was always there for her family, proven by her last words, “Are you OK?” to her younger sister.
  • Ezra Blount (9) loved skateboarding, music, and playing Fortnite. He was quite a performer, himself.

Following Astroworld, many have filed lawsuits against Travis Scott, Live Nation, and others for a good reason. Many respectable artists like Adele, Harry Styles, A$AP Rocky, and Teyana Taylor have paused their concerts as soon as they saw a fan pass out. Yesterday, BTS won the AMA Artist of the Year award, the most significant AMA award. The prominent band is home to members who have always shown concern for their fans during concerts. Jungkook has handed out water bottles while Jimin halted his performance to make sure a fan was okay. That’s what people deserving of platforms do. Even Billie Eilish, a teenager at the time, handed out water bottles when she saw fans about to pass out. However, Scott, a 30-year-old grown man, just proceeded to act like nothing was happening during the festival and urged the audience instead, even though he noticed the ambulance, people screaming for help, and more. In the end, if you don’t see your fans as people and prioritize their safety, you do not deserve respect, no matter how good your songs are. There’s not much else to say for me here.

Therefore, thank you for reading, and stay safe!


Also, please do take a look at this post (disclaimer: usage of cuss words):