OPINION: Astroworld Festival — How the Pursuit For Clout and Cash Created Catastrophe

By Gabriela Romero
Boston University News Service

As Travis Scott’s third annual Astroworld Festival commenced on Friday, Nov. 6, not one of the estimated 50,000 fans in attendance knew the horrific events that would unfold that night.

Currently, 10 people, including a 9-year-old, have died as a result of a crowd surge that left hundreds injured after being roughly jolted and trampled. The following Saturday morning, social media was swarming with a variety of witness content.

Indisputably, this incident was avoidable, and displays the blatant disregard and superiority most people in positions of power feel toward those “below” them. Travis Scott, in particular, is always eager to encourage his fans to act recklessly.

As a matter of fact, there is a video of Scott inciting an admirer to jump from a high balcony. The act seems to show a desire to assess how much power he has over the actions of others, overlooking their safety in the process.  

The Free Dictionary defines moshing as frenzied dancing characterized by jumping about, pushing and shoving others to music, particularly loud punk rock, hardcore, or heavy metal music.

Artists, like Travis Scott, conduct their audiences at their shows, meaning they have the power to encourage/discourage the ways their fans behave. With that in mind, it is unsettling that some compared the concert to a satanic ritual or hell.

Cries for help, pleas to stop the show, mass hysteria — all ignored. On his platform above the crowd, it seems there is virtually no way Scott did not recognize the beyond violent nature that quickly broke out during his performance. Several witness social media posts reveal the celebrity hovering overhead obvious chaos and even whilst many chant “Stop. The. Show.”

Scott responds in another clip mercilessly: “Who asked me to stop? You all know what you came here to do.”

Multiple mistakes led to this tragedy — if they can even be deemed mistakes, rather than outright negligence. Being aware of how many would be in attendance, there should have been more than enough medical attention available knowing it would be undoubtedly necessary. 

Madeline Eskins, an attendee who is also an ICU nurse, awoke from an unconscious state to find staff highly unequipped to handle the situation. Jumping into action, she discovered there was only one automated external defibrillator available and unconscious bodies that had yet to be examined in any way. After prompting a member of the staff to begin checking for a pulse, she was horrified to learn they were unaware of how to do so.

Others observed medical personnel performing CPR incorrectly. This is just one of the numerous stories uncovering the sloppy operation of the event’s emergency crew. 

On top of that, despite a significant amount of security, they also proved early unqualified to handle the crowd’s unruliness — such as when fans breached the entrance. Ultimately, once it began to turn sour, Scott had all the control to try and diffuse the situation, or otherwise stop the show.

Some chiming in on the online conversation are blaming the fans for the mass casualties. Granted, those dancing atop ambulances whilst perhaps literally staring death in the face must lack compassion beyond belief. For one thing, a stampede upon entry at the VIP gates indicated the frenzied energy present from the very beginning.

I must counter though and assert that Scott encouraged this conduct simply because it boosts his ego. Most artists want to see their crowd go crazy for their performance, but to say he took it to the extreme is an understatement. It is a true display of fame getting to someone’s head.

A concert should not have become a ruthless fight for survival. Twitter user @loyyal_jayy, feared for her life, tweeting: “Travis just came on stage and the crowd got crazy … I was being crushed, stepped on continuously for two minutes straight.”


Why do people choose to step on others who have fallen? The scientific explanation: the crowd begins to move fluidly when there is such a high density and individuals have no control of their movements. A 19-year old named Batool recounted in an interview with Insider: “I started hyperventilating and I couldn’t breathe and I started screaming … and people would not listen.”  

A majority stepping on others were merely trying to keep themselves from falling, fearing they would meet a similar fate. Unfortunately, in the process, innocent people were killed. Morbidly enough, the scene almost resembles a sacrifice. To save themselves, fans had no choice but to step on bodies below.

It is hardly fair to view Scott as blameless when two fans even managed to get on stage to yell at the crew, and anyone else who might listen, to put an end to the disaster. There are even other allegations of an unknown culprit injecting unknowing fans with drugs.

No logic can explain how security could have possibly allowed such dangerous substances to enter the venue, if that did happen. The various recordings of the artist’s highly inappropriate singing amongst madness make my stomach turn.

The third annual Astroworld Festival is the embodiment of poor planning, recklessness, and unchecked power. Every day since, new grotesque details have been uncovered. Travis Scott cannot go unscathed when thousands are surely traumatized, and ten families so far are forced to mourn those gone too soon.

Money and fame cannot continue to substitute holding guilty parties accountable. A statement released on Scott’s social media platforms — that reads as highly insincere — will certainly not suffice as consequence. In it, he failed to apologize once, and ridiculously claims he was unaware of what was going on.

Though he probably didn’t intend it to, this message just reveals how Travis Scott dehumanizes his fans and sees them solely as monetary prospects and praise providers.

If he was not aware of what was sadly transpiring before his eyes, it was because he did not care to be.

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