Sammi Bray ’25
Travis Scott’s Astroworld tour sold out in an hour, with roughly 50,000 tickets purchased by fans excited to return to concerts after a year without live entertainment. On Nov. 5, Scott’s performance at a former Six Flags site in Houston, TX, turned deadly.
As the crowd rushed closer and closer to the stage, concertgoers were crushed by a stampede. As of Nov. 11, nine individuals have died, ranging from 14 to 27 years old. Hundreds of others, across a wide age range, were injured.
Due to dangers such as dehydration, substance abuse, and the behavior of other fans, concerts have always been a dangerous spot for the youth. However, this incident leaves many questioning Scott’s responsibility in the incident.
Opinions are split on the role of the performer, some claiming he was unaware of what was happening. A report by the Boston Globe claims Scott saw the ambulance in the crowd and addressed it but proceeded to perform. Perhaps Scott should have stopped his performance and taken further action instead of simply brushing off the incident. Considering his position atop an elevated platform, it is hard to believe he was simply not aware of the exigent situation in his crowd.
Some videos and news sources showed concertgoers dancing on top of ambulances as others fought for their lives.
The New York Times reported that Houston officials were concerned about the concert before it occurred, already worried about the behavior of fans and crowds. Two years before the Nov. 11 incident, three people were hospitalized after crowds went out of control at another Scott performance. The same Boston Globe article states that Scott was arrested at Lollapalooza, the famous Chicago musical festival, for encouraging fans to push past barriers in 2015.
Scott certainly does not put himself in a great light with a past of encouraging fans to rush the stage. On Nov. 7, Scott took to Instagram’s story feature to post an apology video that many felt was insincere.
In the video, an apparently distressed Scott said, “I just want to send out prayers to the ones that were lost last night, we’re actually working right now to identify the families so we can help assist them through these tough times.” The video spanned about a minute and a half.
On various social media platforms, users criticized the apology video, emphasizing how forced it appeared. Others were disappointed in the lack of instant apology from Kylie Jenner, Scott’s partner, who posted a video of the ambulances entering the crowd to social media. Some have also shared theories that she will split with Scott after the incident, while others associate her silence with the control of PR teams. Eventually, Jenner claimed they were unaware of the seriousness of the situation, a statement many find hard to believe.
Scott is not the only performer with crowd control issues. Mosh pits often lead to fights among crowds pushing to be closer to the stage or among individuals upset about their space being violated. At Connecticut’s own Mohegan Sun venue, many have fallen from the elevated seats. With nationwide staff shortages, it has become even harder to maintain the safety at a large public events such as Scott’s Astroworld concerts.
Still, performers have been able to stop incidents from turning deadly. After the Astroworld incident, videos of other concerts went viral, showing performers stopping fights or encouraging space between groups. From Tim McGraw to Linkin Park, fans shared their own experiences of what Scott should have done.
A 1993 clip of Kurt Cobain went viral on TikTok, showing the Nirvana front man stopping his performance after noticing a fan grope a woman in the crowd. Cobain left the stage to prevent the behavior from continuing, leading to the removal of the man by security.
Fellow rapper A$AP Rocky also took a different approach than Scott in 2019. When fans rushed the stage, Rocky paused his performance and told everyone to take a step back. He also made sure that young, female fans were safe.
It has been a difficult number of months with no live entertainment, but the nationwide staff shortages greatly limit the efficacy and enforcement of safety protocols at concert venues. Staffing shortages will likely continue and lead to poor crowd control for all live entertainment in the near future. The blame cannot all be placed on the staff though — the behavior of fans and musicians needs to be better.