Travis Scott Needs to be Held Accountable for his Astroworld Performance


Photo By Shreya Selvaraju

Travis Scott, a Houston native, started the Astroworld festival in 2018. It was inspired by Six Flags Astroworld, an amusement park that was located near the NRG stadium until it closed in 2005. Graphic by Shreya Selvaraju.

By Shreya Selvaraju, Reporter

Travis Scott’s annual Astroworld festival performance on Friday, Nov. 5 resulted in 10 fatalities. The event, which took place at the NRG Stadium, was declared a mass casualty event by the Houston City Police Department just 38 minutes after it started.

Despite reported deaths and an ambulance arriving at the venue, Scott continued playing for 37 minutes after the event was established as a mass casualty event. While it is clear that Scott could’ve done more to prevent the situation from reaching such an extent, his reaction to it, which came in the form of an Instagram story, a notes app apology, and a BetterHelp sponsored free month of therapy for those who attended Astroworld, has been incredibly disappointing.

As injured concert-goers and their families pursue lawsuits against Scott and LiveNation, the company that promoted and operated Astroworld, the question of who is to blame for what happened at Astroworld has been highly debated. As a large factor in how the concert was run and in the resulting fallout, Scott is directly responsible.

Scott is known for his extremely wild and energetic concerts and has even utilized their violent nature to promote his shows. A promotional video for Astroworld 2021 showed footage of past concert-goers jumping over fences, running past metal barricades, and pushing each other around in mosh pits. Astroworld was not the first time Scott’s concerts have gotten out of hand, nor the first time Scott faced repercussions as a result of them.

After his 2015 Lollapalooza set, Scott was arrested for disorderly conduct after inciting a riot. He pled guilty and was sentenced to a year of probation. Two years later, at a concert in Arkansas during his Birds Eye View tour, Scott was arrested for inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, and endangering a minor. Scott again pled guilty and paid restitution as well as court fees.

Scott’s track record clearly acknowledges that his concerts aren’t safe and there is a concerning lack of growth or increase in safety measures. Instead of making changes and asking for more security or being wary of the dangers and issues with the atmosphere that his concerts create, Scott used them as an advertising point. He serves as a proponent for violent behavior and creates an environment at his concerts where this behavior is not just expected, but encouraged.

Despite his considerable contribution to the culture surrounding his concerts, the blame shouldn’t all fall on Travis Scott’s shoulders. LiveNation, the venue and ticket company that managed Astroworld, is at fault as well. LiveNation should be held accountable for not increasing security when they were aware of the culture surrounding Scott’s concerts, and not having a proper safety system in place, or a way to communicate with Scott and shut the event down.

While we don’t know the extent of awareness that Scott and LiveNation shared while the event took place, it is plain to see that both parties were aware of the likely consequences. By not stopping the show, they failed to “ensure a safe, secure, and positive environment is provided for all attendees, artists, and staff.” as promised on the Astroworld website.

The impact of what happened at Astroworld is not one that can be solved with four free weeks of online therapy. Scott’s lackluster response of an Instagram story doesn’t absolve him of blame, even with the black and white filter he put over it. What happened at Astroworld was entirely preventable, and Scott’s failure to hold himself accountable lets down everyone who attended Astroworld.