Travis Scott Astroworld Tragedy

Matthew Beach, Writer

Sometimes accidents happen. It’s that simple. There are several factors that go into an unfortunate incident that often involve fault in more than one area or person. With a tragedy like the one that has taken place at Travis Scott’s 2021 Astroworld Festival, one could instantly think the host of the festival, Travis, is to blame. When diving deeper though, you find a fault in the system here, and another one there, and then you wonder if it might have just been a lot of bad luck. Many have come to conclusions about the disaster that took ten lives and injured hundreds, but when looking at evidence and the proven facts of what went down before, during, and after the Astroworld Festival, we find who really is to blame. 

Concerts in 2020 were shut down completely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the well ran dry of the excitement that comes with getting to see your favorite artist live, screaming the words off to song after song with your fellow fans. By the time it began to let up in 2021 and public gatherings were common once again, people’s feelings of depression and anxiety had skyrocketed. Friends and family were just happy to see people again and enjoy in-person experiences, myself included. When singers began holding concerts again people were desperate, and the low capacity allowed for events didn’t help. 

Travis Scott had already hosted the Astroworld Festival in 2019, where during a performance three people were injured in a stampede of much smaller proportions to the one that happened in the Houston festival. Once he announced he would be resuming the festival post Covid-19, tickets were sold out within the first 30 minutes of them being available (keep in mind this was several months before the festival, on May 5, 2021). There were plenty of disappointed fans who wished they had been speedier in buying one before they ran out. 

When the festival opened on Nov. 5, 2021, 50,000 citizens of Texas and nearby states headed out to the Astroworld Festival in hopes of having a hopefully amazing night, filled with all the things people love about attending live concerts. Several minutes before the festival was open to entrance from the public, an unexpected overrun of security took place where hundreds and even thousands of fans scurried past the gates, as shown recorded on video by several witnesses. The maximum capacity of the event was 50,000, which happened to be the number of tickets sold for the first night of the festival, as it was split into two nights (Nov. 5 and Nov. 6). 

As the music was about to begin, several things took place. More and more people began making their way towards the front of the festival where the stage was located. As this happened, more people moved to fill up the space left behind those people, and again the people behind them. This wasn’t the only time the domino effect ensued during the show. As one witness reports, “When the music started, all went to hell.” When Travis entered onto the stage, the screaming fans in all sections of the crowd jumped for joy and started moving in even closer to try to reach the superstar. When the first beat drop of the first song fell, everyone from the front to the back was jumping on rhythm and personal space was non-existent. 

Towards the front of the crowd, in the area closest to the stage, is where trouble began. One survivor claimed they couldn’t breathe, as they couldn’t even move their chest to catch a breath and felt their ribs being crushed in. Many survivors were split up from their friends and loved ones as the crowd mingled like a clunk of Orbeez, moving in unnatural directions, the shorter people gasping for air and the taller people sometimes toppling to their feet. 

At the very front, closest to the stage, people were unable to move their arms and legs. The more they struggled, the tighter they were constricted. The screams for help began a few minutes into the show. Loud cries “Help!” and ”Stop the show!” arose and were heard clearly in between songs on video. This was when Travis first noticed the predicament. However, he continued song after song as the danger grew further. When limp bodies on the ground and people who had passed out but stuck between still conscious people around them were noticed, Travis finally decided to pause the performance. He infamously asked everyone to “put a middle finger in the air” if they were okay. 

By then, for many people, it was already too late. Ambulances and police vehicles slowly inched their way through the crowd to where people were in most need of help, and several bodies were aided with CPR and other medical procedures. Not even after they had left though, Travis started up the music again. Inconsiderate concertgoers began jumping up on top of the vehicles and dancing, slowing down the medics further. 

People begged for escape at the front of the crowd, fighting for their lives and gasping for air. The exact moment was caught on video when a festival attender jumped onto the side stage pleading with a crew member to stop the show. The member ignores his cries and the attender has no choice but to go back down and try to help his girlfriend and himself get to safety.

At this point if you were at the front of the crowd, all you could do was hope it wouldn’t be you who fell next or passed out. As mentioned in a survivor’s interview, a deadly blow to those at the front took place when a domino effect, as mentioned before, started with one person toppling over, then another, and so on. 

At the end of the night, after everyone left, eight people had lost their lives, and two more would pass in the following weeks, one being just nine years old. Dozens more were hospitalized with severe injuries like cardiac arrest and crushed organs. Scott didn’t care to release an apology statement about what had happened until a few days later, when the situation was viral and had been covered on several news stations. After his apology video, he stated he would be refunding the tickets of those who attended as well as paying for the medical expenses of the victims and those injured. 

On November 8th, Travis announced he would be giving one free month of mental therapy for the Astroworld survivors through BetterHelp, an online therapy organization that doesn’t have the best reputation as a source of therapy. Allegations of bad experiences with the app as well as paid reviews from actors have been aimed at BetterHelp. A struggling mental health service and a disastrous concert with poor planners could easily team up for clout, so this isn’t a surprising partnership.

The wrapping up of the event and its effects is still underway nearly a month later. What some people suspect as a sinister illuminati stunt really is just a lot of bad luck, mixed with irresponsibility from each member in Travis’s crew. Something this traumatic just as live music comes back as a part in our lives is truly tragic, and is something we can hopefully learn and grow from. 

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