I feel I couldn’t write for a music site and not acknowledge the tragedy that happened on the night of November 5th at Astroworld Fest in Houston, Texas.
Many stories have flooded my feed about different points of view of what happened at the festival. Here’s what I’ve gathered from it all:
From everything I’ve heard, the festival oversold the tickets, they were severely understaffed, and their security was underqualified.
The surge wasn’t just during Travis’ performance, it was all day. In the video footage below, you can see fans storm the entrance of the festival. Massive groups of people were stampeding through the fences and bolting past security checks. There were videos of people getting pulled out of the barricades all day. This wasn’t just a random surge, it was waiting to happen all day.
Some of the people didn’t even die from being squished so hard, but from being trampled on. As soon as the crowd was able to make space, they did, no matter who they hurt in the process.
During Scott’s performance, crowds of people attempted to make their escape through the barricades. They went to let staff know about what was happening in the crowd, only to get yelled at to go away. They climbed on posts where the camera people were, telling them to stop filming and they didn’t listen.
Two of the staff went on stage to tell Scott about what was going on. Travis ignored them, told them to get off the stage, and continued the show. There was a whole ambulance in the crowd and he kept performing. It seems like Travis wasn’t going to stop the show for anything.
Most of the people that lost their lives at the festival were in their 20s, the youngest being just 9 years old. As of today, the death toll has risen to 10 people.
It’s important that we ignore the conspiracies, and acknowledge there is no one else to blame but those in charge of the festival. There is no spiritual awakening at work, and Travis could have been able to talk to the crowd.
While concerts may be intense, especially ones where mosh pits are encouraged, death is not a normal occurrence. There were many opportunities for staff, the camera crew, or Scott himself to stop the show and bring attention to what was going on in the crowd. While Scott couldn’t physically go into the crowd himself, the least he could do was tell them to step back.
I think one problem is that we are normalizing this type of tragedy. When was the last time you’ve heard about someone dying at a concert, let alone nine people? It’s not okay for rappers to use this aggressive rhetoric, telling the crowd that they aren’t having a good time if they aren’t fainting and collapsing. There’s a line that needs to be drawn between having fun and being safe.
We should think about the ones that lost their lives that day and hold those in charge of the festival accountable.
Mirza Danish Baig, 27
Rodolfo Peña, 23
Madison Dubiski, 23
Axel Acosta Avila, 21
Franco Patino, 21
Jacob Jurinek, 20
Brianna Rodriguez, 16
John Hilgert, 14
Bharti Shahani, 22
Ezra Blount, 9