Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough


Grace Robinson

Photo by Alex Hanks.

Editorial Board

On the night of Friday, Nov. 5, enthusiastic fans of megastar Travis Scott gathered at Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas — each eager to hear him perform alongside artists like SZA, Don Toliver, and Roddy Ricch. The stage, dubbed “Utopia Mountain” by Scott himself, stood before 50,000 festival-goers, only a metal barrier between the set and general-admission. At 9 p.m., Scott came on stage ready to encourage his fans to “rage,” but they were met with terror as the unthinkable took place. The crowd began to compress and move toward the front of the stage, causing people to lose consciousness and sustain severe injuries. Fans were quite literally crushed against each other, unable to move or breathe. In disturbing videos posted online, there were several loud and clear cries for help  — each scream worsening as the crowd swallowed those underneath the sea of people. Eight people lost their lives on that horrifying night: eight unsuspecting fans of a man who blatantly ignored their desperate pleas for help.

The venue was well over its capacity. In fact, more tickets were sold to people than there was room for at the festival. A group of that size left the already unprepared medical personnel almost completely defenseless when they were hit with the realization that fans were being suffocated and passing out. Testimonials from fans share a commonality: as soon as Scott stepped on stage, “all hell broke loose.”

Young fans were left with no choice but to attempt life-saving measures on unconscious festival-goers. Meanwhile, Scott continued his solo set for a full 40 minutes before acknowledging the disaster that had occurred right in front of him.

Scott is well-acquainted with inciting riots at his concerts and often encourages his fans to jump the barrier against security’s wishes. This is not the first time that Astroworld Festival has failed to accommodate large crowd volumes. Friday’s show took such neglect to epic proportions. Astroworld management failed to follow festival safety guidelines, and failed to respond to the emergency appropriately. Travis Scott and the Astroworld team displayed a complete disregard for human life and a disheartening lack of empathy.

The culture surrounding Travis Scott’s music and his encouragement of lawless “raging” crowds, despite an obviously overfilled venue, directly contributed to the endangerment of his fans and the deaths that occured. In the future, there needs to be a clear boundary between artists and crowds at festivals. The moment even one person’s life is in danger, immediate action must be taken to rectify the situation and control the crowd. An abundance of trained professionals must be present at all times: with proper medical equipment on standby. 

The victims of this tragedy did not deserve the ending they experienced. This is more than just “planning an event.” We need to break down every dangerous moment leading up to the tragedy, and focus on the roots of the system currently in place. This has completely changed the culture of music festivals, and active steps must be taken in order to hold the artists accountable for the safety and wellbeing of their fans at these events. 

Mirza Baig. Rodolfo Peña. Madison Dubiski. Franco Patiño. Jacob Jurinke. John Hilgert. Axel Acosta Avila. Brianna Rodriguez. These are the names of the victims who passed away. They deserve justice. Every person injured or traumatized deserves justice. You will not be forgotten.