Travis Scott’s response to the Astroworld Festival tragedy

Fans are split on whether or not Scott’s apology was genuine

Sophie Shram, Arts & Culture Editor

Travis Scott’s response to the tragic events that occurred on November 5 at the Astroworld festival left fans split on who to blame for the tragedy. After COVID-19 cancelled Astroworld last year, fans were more than excited to attend the festival this year to see their favorite artists performing live once again. The night that so many looked forward to would end in what Houston Police called a “mass casualty,” by taking the lives of 10 victims ages ranging from nine to twenty-seven years old and leaving hundreds injured and traumatized. 

Around 50,000 fans purchased tickets and attended the festival, however the number of people who stormed through the gates is unknown. Scott has been known for inciting chaos at concerts, and has plead guilty to criminal charges linked to his live performances on at least two separate times. He was charged with disorderly conduct in 2015 at Lollapalooza in Chicago for encouraging fans to jump over security barriers and storm the stage, and in 2017 he was jailed for instigating a riot during a performance in Bentonville, Arkansas. In a video captured from the event, Scott is recorded yelling “Security, let ‘em through” as fans rushed towards the stage. 

Additionally, Scott was recorded encouraging a fan to jump down from a second story balcony at his concert on April 30, 2017. The rapper even went as far as turning lights and attention to the fan calling out, “I see you, but are you gonna do it? They’re gonna catch you. Don’t be scared. Don’t be scared! Are you gonna do it?” According to Rolling Stone, another attendee of the concert, Kyle Green, claims he was forced over the third story balcony railing at what he describes as a “severely crowded” and out-of-control event, unlike the fan who appeared to dangle and fall freely, and was unfortunately paralyzed. 

“The crowd began to compress toward the front of the stage,” stated Fire Chief Samuel Peña at a news conference early November 6. “That caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries. People began to fall out, become unconscious and it created additional panic.”

Scott responded to the tragedy by posting the following statement: “I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night. My prayers go out to the family and all those impacted by what happened at the Astroworld Festival. Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life. I am committed to working together with the community to heal and support the families in need. Thank you to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their immediate response and support. Love You All”

Fans were not impressed with his response, one person on Twitter responded by stating, “This is you literally encouraging the crowd to disrespect security, while they are trying to make a path for medical to pass through,” and included a video of Scott continuing to perform as an ambulance struggles to make its way through the crowd. 

Videos featuring Scott’s negligence have continued to go viral over the news and social media. Despite the negative videos surfacing of Scott, some chose to come to the rapper’s defense, such as rapper Chuck D. “Travis Scott is a performer, an act, not a concert promoter… he’s not an expert in crowd control or security or emergency medical services. But he does trust Live Nation and all the other concert promoters who are supposed to do all of this,” stated Chuck D in a  statement to Instagram. “We don’t know everything that happened or exactly what failed. But concert promoters have all the power to make the changes to keep everyone safe and alive.”

The family of 21-year-old Alex Costa, one of the 10 victims killed at the festival,  filed a lawsuit claiming that Acosta was “crushed by the incited, unruly and out-of-control crowd” and laid dying while the festival continued for almost 40 minutes. More than 125 people who were at the festival are currently suing Travis Scott and the Astroworld organizers for $750 million, so only time will tell who is liable.