Travis Scott - Boston Calling 2019

Travis Scott's 2019 Boston Calling performance ended safely.

I have been to three Travis Scott concerts in my life. At no show did I feel unsafe or fear for my life. For the thousands that took to Houston for Scott’s signature two-day festival, Astroworld Festival, they unfortunately cannot say the same.

During Scott’s headlining set Friday Nov. 5, a crowd surge created a mass casualty event, which resulted in 10 deaths and many more injuries.

Although not unprecedented for concerts — think Woodstock ‘99 — violent crowd surges are surely not the norm. However, the Astroworld Festival defied the norm. Both Scott and the event planners should be held responsible for the travesty.

Scott was nearing the end of his set to close out the first day when the Houston Police Department declared his festival a mass casualty event. Despite this, he continued performing for an additional 37 minutes. His lawyer said Scott was unaware of the declaration; however, there were clear signs the crowd was getting out of hand. 

Kylie Jenner, an influencer and Scott’s girlfriend, posted, and swiftly deleted, her Instagram video featuring a medical vehicle driving through the crowd to assist ailing fans. Not to mention the crowd chanted for Scott to stop the performance. Two brave attendees even climbed a ladder onto the stage and urged the cameraman to stop the show, though to no avail.

Even if Scott did not know about the mass casualty declaration, he was well aware of issues in the crowd as he briefly stopped the set to assist a fan. For those defending Scott by saying he was not one of the two people capable of stopping the show, let me remind you he was the one on stage with the microphone. 

All he had to do was stop rapping and walk off that stage.

It’s not surprising he neglected to stop performing, though. After all, he did rap in the hit single “Stargazing,” “It ain’t a mosh pit if ain’t no injuries.”

Scott’s show must go on mentality is definitely part of why the Astroworld Festival ended so tragically; however, the event organizers are also responsible for the tragedy.

As reported by multiple outlets, the Astroworld organizers planned for a variety of emergencies, but there was no plan for a crowd surge. It is unfathomable to me that someone who is paid to create a safety contingency plan for a music festival neglects to plan for a crowd surge — especially when the festival was severely understaffed.

Clearly, this was a logistically inept festival, and that resulted in double digit deaths and dozens of injuries. What happened at the Astroworld Festival was a terrible tragedy, and there is clear work that needs to be done within the concert community to ensure the Astroworld Festival is an outlier and not the norm.