Graphic Design: Trinidad Monteagudo Jackson

Sasha Beck, Harriton News Editor


November 5, 2021 was supposed to be the start of a phenomenal weekend filled with rap music, mosh pits, and unforgettable memories. Little did the fans, staff, and musicians of the Astroworld Festival know that a tragedy would soon take place. 


Travis Scott, a well-known rapper to young listeners around the world, organized a 2-day music festival titled, The Astroworld Festival, in Houston, Texas on November 5th and 6th. He is also well known as influencer Kylie Jenner’s partner and Stormi Jenner’s father. Scott and Jenner were both present at the concert, and many videos show them smothered by security. This event was the third annual Astroworld festival, after the last one was held in 2019 prior to the pandemic. Artists including 21 Savage, Lil Baby, Chief Keef, Don Toliver, SZA, and others performed at the concert– with a surprise appearance by Drake (Aubrey Graham). This year, a portion of the festival’s proceeds were to be donated to Travis’s Cactus Jack Foundation that “empower[s] and enrich[es] the lives of youth by providing access to education and creative resources to ensure long-term success.”


AstroFest was meant to be an exuberant event, yet reports on Instagram, Tik Tok, and major news websites have recently shared details of the vicious and unplanned night the attendees were given instead. The chaos started as soon as fans entered the floor. Pictures and videos have been shared of people rushing and being dragged through the Astroworld entrance, with some already on the ground. A TikTok user, @dieghtx30, posted two intense videos that clearly show the amount of people struggling to stay alive while being suffocated and trampled on at the concert. This was the start to a violent night.


As the 30-minute “hype” timer counted down to 9pm, the crowd became rowdy. Before the clock could hit 5 minutes, people were already on the ground and fighting for a breath. The crowd started to push and surge towards the front of the stage, which caused fans in the front to be compressed; they were unable to escape. Attendees described the conditions as being “crushed to the point where they couldn’t breathe and passed out.” A former Marine was forced to perform CPR on two people that night. He said that he has “never seen a mass amount of bodies dropping that fast before.” People were body-surfing passed-out fans to the medical tents in the back to try and bring them to a conscious state. Individuals claimed that the EMTs were asking people in the crowd for help since they were immensely under-staffed.


Travis Scott acknowledged a fan who was passed out in the crowd and helped in pausing the show and making the security assist them. Videos have gone around with people chanting “stop the show” several times. At one point, a woman decided to break through security and jump on the stage so she could shout at the cameraman to stop the show because people were getting hurt.


The night ended with at least 8 people dead and more than 25 people in the hospital. Now, the number of deceased bodies is up to 10. Sadly, due to Mr. Scott’s young audience, some of the victims were as young as 9. 


The 9-year-old boy, Ezra Blount, sadly passed away from a coma a week after the concert. His family is suing Travis Scott after the severe damage to the boy’s brain, kidney, and liver after being kicked and stepped on. Individuals online are bashing the parents of the boy for allowing their young child to go to this festival. In addition to the festival organizers, the parents should take responsibility for this, since they know the risks of letting their 9-year-old kid go to a chaotic concert meant for an older audience. Despite this, I think that people should not be attacking the family. They are going through a rough time, and they had no way of knowing the extent of danger this festival would reach. The father explained that Ezra was on his shoulders when a crowd surge crushed them, and the dad went unconscious while his son fell off and went missing. Ezra was found later on in a hospital. Scott and the AstroFest team decided to cancel the second day, which was followed by fans demanding refunds.


Several influencers and rappers have shared their words about this terrible event. Roddy Ricch, another rapper who performed at the concert, is donating all the funds he received from the festival to the families who lost someone at the concert. Although this does not help bring their loved one back to life, it helps support them through this tough time. He has received lots of online love after posting, “Please have the families of those we lost yesterday reach out to @shawnholiday. I’ll be donating my net compensation to the families of this incident.” Jenner, Graham, and other well-known stars spoke out with apologies and positive wishes for the families of lost loved ones. Graham’s surprise appearance was another cause of the excitement turned chaos at the festival, as more fans pushed each other. People online mostly supported these posts, though for Jenner and Scott, negative comments started to roll in. 


Scott posted an apology video in a black and white filter apologizing for what happened at his concert. He said that his team is working on finding the families and helping them. He then claimed that he had no understanding of the conditions during his performance, and that he paused once he saw ambulances showing up. Travis also posted a statement on Twitter explaining how devastated he was and thanking the emergency services for their work. However, many videos have gone around with him reportedly seeing people struggling to breathe yet encouraging the crowd to reign on. Jenner was bashed for posting a video of the concert on her Instagram story where viewers can clearly see an ambulance driving through the crowd. Soon after the backlash, she deleted the story and followed with a statement that shared the couple’s prayers and noted that they were not aware of the injuries/fatalities until after the show. Despite the statements, people believe that Scott and Jenner do not care about the deaths as much as they claim, and instead they are simply avoiding consequences from the tragedy.


Supporting this belief, concertgoers and others commented on the fact that Mr. Scott continued performing for more than 30 minutes after police declared a “mass casualty event” caused his social media to soon be filled with hate comments. He was put under the heat for taking an hour to stop the show after he announced that there was an ambulance coming through the crowd. The Astroworld Festival Instagram posted a statement as well, but boldly turned their comments off on all their posts.


Since last Friday, at least 18 lawsuits have been filed against Mr. Scott and the concert organizers. Ads have started to pop up on people’s phones motivating injured individuals from the concert to sign up for a compensation claim. The caption includes “Reports suggest that the Astroworld organizers and staff failed to protect attendees and may be liable for significant damages.”


This was not the first time chaos struck in an Astroworld festival; three people were trampled and hospitalized in November 2019 as thousands rushed to get into the concert. They were all sent to the hospital with leg injuries, but the event continued as planned.


The events of Astroworld in Houston and related news that has come up since has shown that Travis Scott’s talent for “hyping up” a crowd through mosh pits is not a talent at all; it is just an “acceptable” excuse for the physical endangerment of his young fans in the name of having fun.