The Astroworld festival disaster is a cautionary tale

Travis Scott should be held responsible for deaths

Travis Scott should be held accountable for the Astroworld tragedy.
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Nobody involved with the Astroworld festival disaster is innocent. 

On Nov. 5 in Houston, Texas, tragedy struck at NRG Park when eight people were killed in a crowd surge during rapper Travis Scott’s performance. Many more were injured, including a nine-year-old boy who’s in a coma after being trampled. 

This iteration of the annual Astroworld festival—hosted and organized by Scott in partnership with Live Nation Entertainment—drew a crowd exceeding 50,000 people to see performances from many of hip hop’s biggest names. 

Now, with the dust settled and lives lost, people are rightfully pointing fingers. 

It starts with the venue’s security. Festival officials reportedly hired an independent company to handle security, but Houston police were also present. Despite the officials being present, several survivor accounts have detailed their inadequacy in the situation. 

The situation is even more heartbreaking when considering the festival’s organizers were anticipating 70,000 people in a venue designed for 50,000 or fewer. They green lit the event despite having NRG Park, a venue suitable for 200,000, as an available alternative. 

With lawsuits now mounting against him, Scott must also be held accountable for this avoidable tragedy, as part of the organizing team. 

Scott is a multi-platinum selling artist with a history of chaotic live shows. 

In 2015, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanour reckless conduct after encouraging attendees to climb over security barricades during his Lollapalooza performance. In 2017, he was arrested and charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, and endangering the welfare of a minor following a show in Rogers, Arkansas. 

Unfortunately, it seems Scott still hasn’t learned his lesson. 

Those familiar with his music and persona know ‘raging’ is part of his appeal—fans attend his concerts hoping to get wild. The problem is many others, especially children, know him simply as the rapper who appears in Fortnite or had a special meal at McDonald’s. 

When people attend a rock or heavy metal show, they expect a certain level of roughness given the style of music and associated culture. Most people don’t bring children to standing-room-only hardcore shows because physical aggression is so prevalent. 

Scott isn’t an underground metal artist—he’s a pop-culture phenomenon who routinely draws children and casual music fans to his shows. 

With that in mind, Scott has a responsibility to keep his fans safe at his shows because many are unprepared for the environment he cultivates—he needs to understand doing virtual Fortnite events will attract vulnerable kids. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with aggressive music or shows. However, inviting casual fans to attend aggressive shows is inherently wrong, especially when they’re hosted by negligent performers at venues ill-prepared to handle large crowds. 

Scott can’t be directly blamed for the deaths at his Astroworld festival, but he did miss several opportunities to help prevent them. 

The negligence that allowed this tragedy to happen must be a wakeup call for music fans and festival goers. 

Pay attention to your surroundings the next time you attend a concert. Take the crowd and security measures into consideration before getting too rowdy. Help people up if they fall and go into these types of events with escape plans in case of emergency. 

The burden of safety shouldn’t land on concert attendees, but the Astroworld festival is unfortunate proof that artists and organizers are self-interested. 

Hey Travis Scott: rodeos have rules for a reason.

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