Travis Scott’s concerts are upbeat, high-energy, and wild.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (AP) — Travis Scott’s high-energy concerts are noted for being chaotic and fun-filled, with concertgoers urged to participate in riotous activities such as mosh pits, crowd surfing, and stage diving.
Welcome to Scott’s Astroworld Festival, where concertgoers may unleash their inner renegade.
Tragically, the Grammy-nominated rapper’s exuberant performance this time turned tragic when at least eight individuals — aged 14 to 27 — were slain amid a crowd surge at his Houston music event on Friday evening. A large number of the 50,000 people in attendance pressed toward the stage at NRG Park as a countdown ticked down to begin the show before the tumultuous scenario started to erupt.
People in the audience said there was a lot of pushing and shoving throughout the performances coming up to Scott’s set, which is typical of his presentations. He’s often pushed supporters to get over security and storm the stage, but none of those earlier incidents ended in deaths.
“Travis Scott’s whole aesthetic is about revolt,” said HipHopDX editor-in-chief Trent Clark, who has seen him play multiple times. “There’s a lot of rage in the concerts.” With the demise of punk music, hip-hop has embraced and modeled a new generation of mosh pits. At a Travis Scott event, it’s not unusual to witness a lot of crowding, raging, or completely insane behavior.”
Scott is an eight-time Grammy nominee and one of music’s brightest rising talents. On the heels of his chart-topping album “Astroworld,” which featured the popular song “Sicko Mode,” the Houston-born artist created his event in 2018. He also has a 3-year-old daughter with Kylie Jenner, who revealed her pregnancy with their second child in September.
“Travis Scott is known in the hip-hop scene for his super high-energy shows, where he really tries to stir up the audience,” Rolling Stone editor-in-chief Noah Shachtman said. “It creates for some very great concerts, as well as a handful of worrisome events.”
Scott wrote in a tweet on Saturday that he was “truly heartbroken by what happened last night.” He promised to work “in collaboration with the Houston community to heal and help the families in need.”
Whatever the outcome of the inquiry, disasters like the one at the Astroworld Festival have been occurring for a long time. In 1979, 11 people were killed in a stampede to get into a Who performance in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1989, a mass crush at a soccer stadium in England killed approximately 100 people. According to an Associated Press survey of media accounts and authorities’ remarks, a collision between two groups during the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in 2015 killed more than 2,400 people.
However, given Scott’s previous indiscretions for the two previous concerts, Shachtman believes the rapper will be given a “hard second look.”
Scott was jailed in 2017 for encouraging fans to circumvent security and storm the stage, injuring a security guard, a police officer, and numerous others at an Arkansas event. In a second case, he was sentenced to one year of court supervision after pleading guilty to reckless conduct charges coming from an incident at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago in 2015.
Officials in Chicago said at the time that Scott urged supporters to leap security barriers. No one was hurt, though.
“In terms of intensity, he wants the energy he’s sending out on stage to be matched by the crowd, almost in defiance,” said Julian Kimble, who wrote a concert review for the Washington Post on Scott’s 2018 Astroworld performance. He described the rapper as one of the most enthralling artists he’s ever seen.
“I’ve heard him say things like, ‘Don’t listen to security.'” Forget about safety. This is for you. ‘This is for the fans,’ he said. “What happened last night is an illustration of how things may go awry.” There is a lot of carelessness all around. I don’t believe there is a single evil individual or perpetrator. What transpired was a massive structural breakdown.”
Shachtman expressed optimism that the tragedy would influence Scott’s approach to his program. He appreciates the rapper’s concerts but wishes for a safer environment in which people can still have fun, particularly for those hoping to find some entertainment at live events during the epidemic.
“I would anticipate greater steps to ensure that concertgoers may have a good time while not being murdered,” said Shachtman, who grew up listening to New York hardcore punk rock music. He admits to being no stranger to mosh pits, but adds that “there’s a tremendous difference between a mosh pit, even a massive one, and a life-threatening scenario.”
Scott is set to perform as a headliner at the Day N Vegas Festival next weekend. However, any performance including Scott may be subject to examination due to crowd control procedures and other safety issues.
“Concert producers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on security at both private and public events,” Shachtman said. “That has to be used correctly.” Otherwise, we’ll have another one of these situations.”
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