No one should die at a concert. It has been over a year since the world shut down due to COVID-19, so festival and concert tickets in 2021 have become heavily sought after. After all of that time inside, people are excited to see their favorite artists with thousands of fellow fans around them. The anticipation and excitement is nothing new, however, after a year of no major concerts or festivals, that energy is amplified, and the artists are aware of this. Over the past year, artists have expressed how much they missed their fans and how they miss performing. They miss sharing their art with people from across the globe. Understandably so, but I think that one artist took advantage of that.
Travis Scott knows what his audience is capable of. His Netflix Documentary Look Mom I Can Fly showcased exactly how out of hand his concerts can get. He prides himself on it. So, when 50,000 of his fans came to see him at the Astroworld Festival on November 5th, he acted accordingly. He pulled out all the stops in his hometown of Houston, Texas. He even brought out Drake, whose fame is only heightened by the release of his recent album Certified Lover Boy. Travis Scott’s concerts are in a league of their own. He encourages his audience to “rage” and essentially go crazy, despite who or what is around them. I understand that this is his outlet, his art form, and his job but what I do not understand is how it led to the deaths of at least eight people. With people jumping barricades to sneak in, and the extreme lack of security, the event was set up to fail. When the countdown to Travis Scott’s appearance drew nearer, so did the crowd. Thousands of people rushed to try and get to the front, not caring who they had to go through or trample over. Off duty nurses and people with no medical expertise were seen administering CPR to people who could not breath due to the crowding. There was nowhere to go but up. Unconscious bodies were crowd-surfed to safety. Scott briefly stopped the performance when he saw an ambulance in the crowd, but he encouraged his fans to flip off the ambulance, and he continued his show for thirty more minutes. There are ongoing investigations looking into this festival and how it led to such tragedy. Scott has refunded all attendees in the meantime.
This incident made me wonder how we got to this point as a human race. A point in which we disregard human life to get closer to another human who only sees us as a number. We idolize celebrities, and when they do something that society condemns we cancel them. They lose a few fans, brand partnerships, and their peace of mind, but they keep their millions and the publicity. It is a cycle. We put celebrities on a pedestal and when they do not live up to the expectations we give them, they fall off. There is nothing wrong with a person being excited that their favorite author released a new book, or staying up late to get the best concert tickets, but creating a culture of “raging” and having no regard for the people around them is where it gets dangerous. That is where Travis Scott went wrong.