Starting in 2012, Scott has become a prominent rap artist with a large sway over his audience. courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Travis Scott to blame for festival disaster

While Scott did not directly harm any individuals, he has encouraged violent behaviors without regard to safety.

On Oct. 5, a deadly crowd crush occurred at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival, a music festival hosted in Houston, Texas. This disaster left nine dead, 25 hospitalized for serious injuries—two of which are still in critical condition—and over 300 injured. The crowd crush began moments before Scott took the stage, worsening with each minute he performed; the mass casualty event continued despite cries for help and an ambulance driving through the audience to save concert-goers who were being trampled to death.

Despite all this, Travis Scott kept performing. In a viral video, as the ambulance tries to make its way through the crowd, Scott sees the vehicle and says, “put a middle finger in the air … Two hands in the sky. You all know what you came to do, Chase B, let’s go. I wanna make this motherfucking ground shake.” Rather than asking the audience to make way for the ambulance or better yet ending the show, he immediately starts another song as the ambulance attempts to aid dying individuals. This occured only 26 minutes into his set, with Scott performing for another 42 minutes, then attending an afterparty with Drake after the concert ended.

While many people share the blame of what happened that night, such as security, the executive producer of the festival and the festival director, no one is more to blame than Travis Scott himself. According to a police report, Scott was personally warned by the Houston chief of police about the possibility of “lack of crowd control” hours before the concert began. In addition to this, a 56 page document obtained by The New York Times depicts the security plan arranged by concert organizers that clearly outlines the possibility of “The potential for multiple alcohol/drug related incidents, possible evacuation needs, and the ever-present threat of a mass casualty situation.” Knowing all this, Travis Scott chose to perform.

Even his conduct during the performance itself is incriminating. Security placed at the front of the barricades that block the crowd from the stage can only see what is happening directly in front of them. Travis Scott, however, was performing on an elevated stage—elevated enough to see an ambulance in the crowd. Scott could see everything that occured in the audience. Perhaps he did not truly know the extent of what was happening, but when he has a long track record of encouraging violence at his own shows, then can he really be so innocent? Travis Scott has been arrested twice for inciting violence and riots at his concerts, one of which occurred in a nearby venue, the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers, Arkansas. Scott has long idolized the cruelty and injuries of his fans as he posted pictures of seriously injured individuals on his instagram throughout the years—some of these are still up, though some have been deleted in the aftermath of Astroworld.

Travis Scott’s decision to continue performing despite pleas of help and an ambulance in the audience shows that does not care for the well-being of his fans. It is extremely easy for an artist to stop a show and help fans. For example, Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters has kicked out violent fans mid-song. Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day once noticed a woman getting sexually assaulted in the audience of his concert. Armstrong immediately took matters into his own hands by missile drop kicking the perpetrator, and then proceeding to not miss a beat by ironically introducing their next song, “Nice Guys Finish Last.” Another example is Frank Iero stopping mid-song to pick up an unconscious woman from the front row, taking her backstage to receive medical attention. Afterwards, he passed out water bottles to the audience. These artists are not heroes for helping their fans; they are doing what any person in a position of power should be doing in this situation. Travis Scott, on the other hand, did nothing.

In reference to the belief that violent behavior is normal for concerts, it’s not. Mosh pits happen, but there is an etiquette that any decent person should know and follow, artist and fan alike, and for those that even have to ask what the etiquette is, they should not be joining a mosh pit. Travis Scott not knowing this basic etiquette and co-opting mosh culture into his live shows has created a fundamental issue with his performances; Scott has encouraged mosh pits with the expressed goal of injuring people, when in fact, mosh pits are a way of celebrating the music and releasing frustrations—not causing bodily harm to other individuals.

Travis Scott has also inadvertently profited over the tragedy at Astroworld. On the day of the incident, his song “Escape Plan” received almost two million streams on Spotify. His song “SICKO MODE” has also re-entered the top 200 list on Spotify. He’s even gained 500,000 new followers on Instagram since the tragedy. Despite this, and the fact that he is worth $60 million as per Celebrity Net Worth, he has done very little to make amends with his fans present at the festival. He has offered to pay for the funerals of the nine killed, and he has also given a month of free therapy via BetterHelp to those in attendance, but he has done nothing to help those who have been hospitalized by his festival. LiveNation announced they would start a fund to help pay the medical bills of those hospitalized, but have failed to announce exactly how much they are donating to this fund, or if this fund will fully cover the attendee’s medical bills. Travis Scott has done the bare minimum, driving home the point again about how little he cares for his fans.

Post Author: Madison Walters