Who Should Be Held Responsible for the Astroworld Concert Tragedy?

by Aimee Lee ’24

Source: NPR

Published Dec. 1st, 2021

On November 5th, 2021, a reported 10+ people were killed in an out-of-control crowd of over 50,000 during rapper Travis Scott’s Astroworld Concert.

“People were pushing up against me so much that I couldn’t breathe”, wrote Madeline Eskins on Instagram. Esksins, who attended the festival, passed out and was crowd-surfed to safety. However, many people did not receive the same treatment. 

Even with 505 security staff members and over 500 Houston police officers on-duty, no one noticed the first injuries due to suffocation, trampling, and ignorance of safety.

According to Eskins, about thirty minutes before Scott’s concert appearance, “all of a sudden, people come pressed up against each other… As the timer got closer, it got worse and worse.” Eskins felt a pressure on her chest from the tightening barricade of people closing around her. 

In response, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña, informed the public that overcrowding was not the cause of the tragedy. “They could have had over 200,000 people in this venue; this [concert] was limited to 50,000.” 

Attendee Cody Hatt expressed on Twitter the lack of response from staff, claiming that security told him, “We already know, and we can’t do anything to stop the show.” 

Scott, too, holds responsibility. Although more than sixty ambulances arrived to treat injuries, Scott ignored the pleas of the crowd to stop the show, responding, “Who asked me to stop? Y’all know what you came here to do.” 

The Houston concert was not the first time Scott encouraged rowdy crowds. In 2015, Scott encouraged fans at Lollapalooza to climb security barriers and pile onstage, and in 2017, he urged members of the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion crowd to rush the stage.

The failures of Travis Scott, security, and the crowd itself contributed to the deaths of ten and injuries of hundreds more. 

“I am absolutely devastated by what took place last night”, Scott later wrote on Twitter, “Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life.” 

Despite Scott’s apology, authorities must diligently work with artists to prevent another devastating loss to express genuine remorse for the victims of the Astroworld incident.

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