ASTROWORLD FESTIVAL DISASTER
Travis Scott’s performance at the Astroworld Music Festival in Texas on November 5th, 2021 was supposed to be fun and unforgettable, but it turned into a traumatic and unforgettable scene. Fans started coming in at around 3:30 pm,and at this point the crowd was still calm since they were waiting for the concert to begin. Everything was under control until 9:00; in what seemed like an instant, everyone began rushing towards the front, and the crowd turned into one colossal mosh pit.
About 30 minutes later is where things went downhill fast. As the crowd got closer, bodies began to drop. One girl, Madeline Eskins, felt the oncoming mob and wanted to leave, but her boyfriend explained that they physically couldn’t; the crowd was so close together that they couldn't move. Unlike the many others, after passing out her unconscious body was crowd-surfed to safety. As the concert went on, more and more people began to fall and were trampled. The event was chaotic, and the problem went unnoticed until more people got hurt.
Finally, the crowd started seeking help. The crowd was so desperate for help that two fans managed to climb to the back of the stage and asked the cameraman for help in order to get the people who had fallen to safety. But the cameraman did nothing, and he wasn’t aware of the situation until the middle of an after-party. When the crowd began to notice that people were unconscious, they started running away from the stage to safety; this was when a lot of people were injured. In the end, 300 fans had to be treated at the on-site medical center, 11 had gone into cardiac arrest, and a total of eight people were killed.
This chaos started at the concert, but fans in the hospital were still fighting for their lives in the days following the incident. As of November 15th, the number of deaths increased from eight to ten, now including a nine-year-old boy. Most of the deaths were high school and college students, and even included a little kid. Their names were Franco Patino (21), John Hilgert (14), Brianna Rodriguez (16), Rudy Peña (23), Danish Baig, Jacob E. Jurinek (20), Axel Acosta (21), Madison Dubiski (23), Bharti Shahani (22), and Ezra Blount (9). All over social media videos have been posted of their parents grieving and giving speeches at their children's funerals. As the families grieved for their losses, how did Travis respond?
A day after the incident, Travis posted a 1:30 minute apology video. In the video he told his fans that he and his team are working on finding the families of the victims to help them in response to the accusatory and hateful messages directed at him and the Astroworld event. He also uses the apology video as an opportunity to make everyone aware that he is working with the Houston police department and investigators to get to the bottom of it.
After going back and forth, a two billion dollar lawsuit was filed by 282 plaintiffs in regards ten lives taken at the concert. The two billion dollar lawsuit was filed against Travis Scott, Drake, Live Nation, Apple, and other big companies that participated in the event. In this lawsuit, most of the blame has been directed at Apple, because in the effort of promoting their company they contributed to many safety hazards. Apple had cameras all over the venue covered in metal barriers that took up a lot of space and made it difficult for the audience to exit safely. In response to the lawsuit, McPherson, Travis Scott’s lawyer, said that only the festival director and executive producers had the power to stop the concert, neither of which were Travis or his team.
Another 750 million dollar lawsuit was filed against the same people by 125 plaintiffs and lawyer Tony Buzbee. In this lawsuit, Buzbee uses different “pay over people” examples to prove that the event prioritized profit over the safety of the audience. A lot of money was being spent and made throughout the whole festival, so stopping it for any reason would have put the events at risk of losing money. Additionally, other families filed lawsuits against the artists who performed at the festival; specifically, one by the father of the nine-year-old who was killed. This tragedy left many people traumatized and heartbroken. Nevertheless, will this event prevent other deaths or injuries from happening at other concerts in the future? Artists and big companies should take safety more seriously to prevent harm.
Hanna, Jason Maya Brown And Rosa Flores. “At Least 8 Dead and Many Injured after Crowd Surge at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, Officials Say.” CNN, 8 Nov. 2021, edition.cnn.com/2021/11/06/us/houston-astroworld-festival/index.html.
Paybarah, Azi, et al. “Crowd Surge at Travis Scott Concert Leaves at Least 8 Dead.” The New York Times, 9 Nov. 2021, www.nytimes.com/live/2021/11/06/us/houston-astroworld-festival.
Heyward, Giulia. “Astroworld Victims: Who They Were.” The New York Times, 15 Nov. 2021, www.nytimes.com/article/astroworld-festival-victims.html.
“Travis Scott (Full Apology).” YouTube, uploaded by travis scott full apology, 8 Nov. 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=znqA2Qdw7HA.
Dillon, Nancy. “Travis Scott, Drake, Apple and Live Nation Facing New $2 Billion Astroworld Lawsuit.” Rolling Stone, 18 Nov. 2021, www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/astroworld-travis-scott-apple-2-billion-lawsuit-1259558.