The Astroworld Tragedy, Who is to Blame?


The Astroworld festival began on November 5,  and ended in tragedy when 8 people lost their lives and hundreds injured due to a crowd surge. The sold out festival had 50,000 people present. Fatalities ranged from 14-27 in age and the youngest victim injured  was only 9 years old. 58 lawsuits have been filled alongside criminal and civil investigations.

It’s still unclear what caused the crowd to surge according to the Houston Fire Chief “The crowd for whatever reason began to push and surge towards the front of the stage, which caused the people in the front to be compressed — they were unable to escape that situation,” Sam Peña.  According to Madeline Eskins around 30 minutes before Travis Scott got on stage it began to get more crowded. “All of a sudden, people come pressed up against each other, pushed forward and backward. As the timer got closer,” “it got worse and worse.” Eskins added, “I had constant pressure on my chest … I was being squeezed.” Most experts agree that deaths from crowd surges tend to come from suffocation due to people being unable to breathe rather than trampling’s.

The levels of negligence go all the way from the top to bottom but it rests most importantly on Travis Scott. The festival’s 56 page emergency plans didn’t include contingencies for crowd surges and organizers only gave a phone number to the fire department instead of radios to communicate with. Head of the Houston Firefighters union Lancton had this to say “We don’t use cell phones for emergencies. We use radios. We need direct contact because as situations unfold, seconds matter,” The organizers and Travis Scott should have complied with the requests of the Houston Fire department. If firefighters had radios the emergency services could have gotten to the injured faster and forced a shutdown of the event earlier. Travis Scott only stopped his performance 40 minutes after a mass casualty event was declared. The Police tweeted that the event was not sufficiently planned or staffed. They did however delete this tweet and replaced it with one saying that they were investigating alongside the organizers. Travis Scott has a history of encouraging wild behavior and got pled guilty twice to charges of disorderly and reckless conduct. He also deleted a tweet from May encouraging “wild” fans to sneak in. The company behind the event Live Nation has been linked to 750 injuries and 200 deaths since 2006. There’s no two ways about it, both Travis Scott and the organizers he worked with have a history of negligence and not showing the proper level of care. A District Fire chief was denied access when he attempted to inspect the site instead he was given a map of the site. The tour of the site would have given critical information to the District chief who commands any sort of response from the Fire department. Although normally on set performers aren’t held criminally responsible for crowd surges Travis Scott is different as he was an organizer and supervisor of the event as well as having received prior warning from Houston P.D Chief Finner about crowd safety.

There’s no doubt that Travis Scott is criminally liable for the tragedy that unfolded at Astroworld. He was warned multiple times and refused to do anything to protect the safety of his fans. Although he claims he didn’t know what was going on, it’s hard to believe that, when every possible official tried to work with him to prevent such a tragedy from occurring.