Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival and The Imminent Terror Of Concert Violence

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Cael Brennan

A sensational hit album, number one singles, and a fanbase gnawing at the chance to see live performances. Young hip-hop star Travis Scott could not have foreseen opening night at his Texas, “Astroworld Music Festival”, tragically enveloping into the loss of eight lives and several injured.

Occurring just last Friday, eight concert attendees shockingly endured fatal circumstances amid the swirling chaos of an over capacitated music festival. 

Officials and concert-goer accounts describe the leading factor of these violent injuries to be “crowd rush.” Lawyer Tony Buzbee (Representative for Axel Acosta, one of eight people who died during a crowd rush) describes the phenomenon as, “occurring when you have an extremely large and high-density crowd moving in one direction in a confined space. People involved in a crowd rush get carried by a river of people, uncontrollably,” Buzbee explained. This compression of thousands stampeding towards the front leads to injuries, asphyxia, and occasionally cardiac arrest.

Terrifying images and videos persisted during and after the hitmaker’s festival set. One individual, in particular, captured gobs of bodies strung about the ground after Travis Scott performed, tweeting alongside the pic, “real images of people on the ground, some dead, some unconscious after the crowd moved away from the stage after Travis’s set was over.” Alternatively emerging are videos of fans attempting to end the violence. One viral instance of such portrayed an attendee screaming at a cameraman to end the show.

Within the next few hours and days, post-performance outrage ensued alongside bubbling reports and recently placed legal action. Many have taken to accost Travis Scott for his particular contribution towards the panic. Widespread speculations such as, “why did no one end the show? Why didn’t he say anything? How could this happen?” Truthfully, attempting to distinct the responsibility of an artist performing a set is seemingly a convoluted debate. Many assert that Scott after one point of directing security to help a visibly faint person he saw in the crowd and verbally recognizing an emergency vehicle trudging through a sea of concertgoers among other things; should have seen some red flag for himself or the team putting on the show to stop. A persistent argument against Scott has been his prior arrest at a concert upon inciting fans to barge through the barriers. However, many including dedicated fans and other artists have come to his defense. One popular statement is that they believe it is ridiculous to assume under beaming lights, surrounded by booming sound, whilst tangled in complicated audio equipment, and still having to perform, it is irrational for us to justify Scott’s aggressive critique.

Site of Pearl Jam Concert Violence

Moreover, controversial music starlet Azealia Banks described on her Instagram, “The discussion surrounding Travis Scott’s responsibility is another example of racial bias, considering how much of scrutiny has fallen upon Scott rather than the need to evolve concert safety and protocol.” She then shared a screenshot of the fatal Pearl Jam festival that occurred in 2000 as means to propel the point why we need to evaluate festivals, “not this black man’s trauma.”

Concert violence has long posed as a glaring reality of live shows. A history of tragedies such as the deaths and sexual assaults at Woodstock 99’, the aforementioned Pearl Jam show, and now Astroworld Music Festival. Each decade collects newfound cases demonstrating the aptitude for violence at shows.

Regardless, several families of those who lost their lives attending the Astroworld Music Festival have asked for space and an opportunity to mourn.