By Abbey Huffer
On November 5, 2021, at least 50,000 people attended Travis Scotts Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas. Going into this festival it was expected to be a fun night out, but it took a quick turn for the worse when disaster struck, killing 9 fans and injuring many who attended. The tragedies of the festival have left many questioning Scott’s intentions and if it was just an accident. This opens up a bigger conversation about safety precautions at music festivals, and how a completely preventable tragedy can ruin a person’s life.
Around 9 pm Travis Scott came out on stage, and the crowd got rowdier. After Travis allowed people to break into the festival, there was an overflowing crowd, with fans suffocating and being trampled as a result of a crowd surge. Bharti Shahani, 22, Mirza Baig, 27, Rodolfo Pea, 23, Madison Dubiski, 23, Franco Patio, 21, Jacob Jurinke, 20, John Hilgert, 14, Axel Acosta Avila, 21, and Brianna Rodriguez, 16 were amongst those killed. Travis has a history of neglecting his organizations, and this isn’t the first time fans have been injured at one of his concerts. Travis encouraged his fans to attack a man who stole his shoe while crowd-surfing at his concert in 2015. In 2017, Kyle Green left Travis’ concert paralyzed after he was told by Travis to jump off a third-floor balcony during the show.
It didn’t take long for Astroworld to make its way to TikTok and other platforms, allowing even those who hadn’t witnessed it firsthand to share their thoughts. Some believe Travis is entirely to blame because he could have done more to make the festival a safe environment, while others believe he did everything he could and that the fault could be due to other causes- possibly the security team or even the fans in the crowd. Some who were at the festival were seen on camera telling Travis to stop the show as they were witnessing what went down, but Travis refused.
If anyone deserves to be canceled, I believe it should be Travis Scott. When you have a large number of people looking up to you as an influencer, it is your responsibility to be the best influencer you can be. Travis chose to be careless, putting thousands of people’s lives in danger, and he seems to have chosen money and publicity over the safety of his fans. When organizing such events, it is your responsibility to ensure that situations like these are avoided, and Travis has shown that he is incapable of doing so, proving he does not deserve the spotlight. While the audience should have been more aware of their surroundings, Travis should have stopped the show as soon as he noticed something was wrong.
Conspiracy theories have also surfaced, such as this festival serving as a venue for Travis’ ‘satanic rituals’ and using his fans as ‘blood sacrifices’. The music industry has been a target for these theories involving ‘selling their souls to the devil’ or ‘joining the Illuminati,’ and Travis is believed to be one of the rappers to ‘sell his soul.’ Some find it strange that some of the props at Astroworld were similarly represented to devil worship, such as the stage resembling an upside-down cross and a flaming dove at the entrance. Not only that but the slogan for the festival, “See you on the other side” means to cross over after death, leading people to compare the festival to Hell. Personally, I think it is invalidating the victims to say that a ritual was the cause of their deaths because I’m sure their family and friends don’t want to hear that their loss is over a satanic theory.
Travis Scott has addressed the situation on Instagram but people weren’t convinced as his video did not seem genuine or believable. His ‘apology’ video has even become a meme on TikTok. There were comments under the video saying, “He’s devastated that he’s going to be held accountable for his actions,” and “He can’t even look the camera in the eye. The Devil is truly a liar.” Travis is covering the medical expenses of the victims who attended the Astroworld festival and offering a full refund of any and all tickets.
Satanic ritual or tragic accident, these nine families deserve justice for Travis Scott’s faults. I hope Travis has learned his lesson, and if he continues to organize more concerts (which he will), he will do it in a safe way. Our current influencers should put your safety first.
Since this original article has been posted, another victim has been taken. Nine-year-old Ezra Blount passed away after being in a coma at a Texas children’s hospital.