What Happened At Astroworld?


Eden Aulov

Concerts are a joyous celebration of music, the arts, the sensory pleasures artists place on listeners. They’re a way to showcase the birth of music, fandoms, the growth and journey of all the people involved. They are not a cemetery. There are no bodies lying on the ground at regular concerts, panicked teenagers trying to save their peers around them. There should not be PTSD after a concert, should not be colding bodies of children, never to come home to their parents again. Yet these sights were showcased outwardly at Astroworld, a music festival headlined by Travis Scott on November 5th, 2021. Nine people were victims of this tragedy, with ages as low as fourteen included in the tally. More than three hundred were injured, including a nine-year old boy left in a coma. This is not a regular concert, as those defending Travis say. This is a hellish occurrence with so many to blame. There is no justification of what happened at Astroworld.

How did this occur in the first place? There were 50,000 people who bought tickets to Astroworld. There were thousands more who jumped over the fence, only to be met with not nearly enough security to stop the crazed fans from storming the miniscule space, not even close to being enough to contain the raging crowd. As soon as Travis Scott appeared on stage, comparable to catnip for the hungry, maddened crowd, yelling for people to come closer, to “make this mother******* ground shake,” as screams for help rang out over the heated air, the crowd surged towards the stage. Compressed, people screamed for help, for air, as their breathing was cut off. Those passing out from lack of air, trampled, while Travis, aware of the ambulances trying to make their way through the crowd, did the robot on stage. He did the robot on stage, as his fans literally died below him, passed out below him, screaming for help. The man who once stopped a concert of his for the astoundingly important reason of someone stealing his shoe, did the robot on stage as people suffocated ten feet away from him. 

The atmosphere of Astroworld was described as “hellish” and “evil.” Tik Tok users all over the app shared their experiences, letting the internet see more than what was being told vaguely on the news. One user, @sadboyearth described his experience from sitting on the fence, looking down at what was going on in the crowd, pulling people into the VIP section to be able to breathe. He details, “so I’m helping people, I’m pulling people out, and like, it just felt like we was like literally like in ******* Hell, it felt like we was in a concert in Hell. You couldn’t breathe, you couldn’t see, like, just imagine all the people they gonna find tonight, who was in that crowd, who nobody could see, who nobody could hear, who passed out… In the VIP section, it was so many bodies laid out, people was getting pulled out who was fainted, people was trying to, the medics were trying to give them CPR, and they was flipping them over, and like they was literally turning black and blue.” Another user, @brook333lliott, explains, “It was extremely traumatizing. I’ve never experienced anything like that in my entire life… probably because I’ve never been surrounded by so many lifeless bodies.” Lastly, a user by the name of @_mattaguilera described his experience of a girl who died right in front of him. He says, “I get over the fence, and um, this girl gets helped over, but she’s out, like out cold, bro, like completely out… Whoever she was with started crying, like hysterically, just like, ‘She’s not waking up! She’s not waking up!! There’s no pulse!’… People, they started giving her CPR… pretty much the whole Travis performance they’re giving her CPR, they’re like, ‘Where’s the paramedics, where’s the paramedics?!’… It took the paramedics literally like, probably 30 minutes to get through and once they got through they tried to do CPR on her and nothing. Then they started carrying her out on a stretcher, bro, and dropped the stretcher, and her body, like, just her lifeless body just topples over onto the ground again, and they like, pick her back up and put her back on the stretcher, I mean bro, I can’t even, eugh, God, bro, like I can’t even, it was horrible.” 

Upon hearing the news of this concert, I immediately wondered, ‘why was the concert not stopped? Was Travis just unaware of what was happening? If so, how did nobody notify him?’ The actuality is that Travis and his team were perfectly aware of what was happening. He saw the ambulances in the crowd, at one point asking, “What’s that?” to the crowd as he pointed to one trying to make its way through. A cameraman on the stage heard the girl who’d climbed up to scream to him, “There’s someone dead in there! There’s someone dead! There’s someone dead! There’s someone f****** dead!” as a fellow concert goer screamed “STOP THE SHOW! STOP THE SHOW!” And an unconscious fan struggled to be pulled out of the crowd in the front rows of the concert, directly in the line of sight of Travis Scott, who looked right at him at one point. To the ambulance, Travis chuckled and yelled, “MAKE THIS MOTHER******* GROUND SHAKE,” instead of urging the crowd to part so the paramedics could get through to who needed help. In response to the pair screaming about the dead body, the cameraman ignored both before making the helpless pair get off. And as for the unconscious fan, Travis looked directly at him before turning away and continuing singing at another part of the stage. How can he not be responsible? How can his team not be?

Travis Scott issued an apology following the tragedy, after the news and following outrage exploded onto the internet. While rubbing his head profusely, with a deeply saddening black and white filter on, Travis uttered the words, “I just want to send out prayers to the, to the ones that was lost last night. We’re actually working right now to identify the families… so we can help assist them through this tough time. You know my fans, like, my fans really mean the world to me, and, I always just really want to leave them with a positive experience; and any time I could make out, you know, anything that’s going on, you know, I’d stop the show and you know, help them get the help they need, you know?” No, Travis, unfortunately we do not know. At this point in the apology, I could not continue watching, because, as a friend of a victim said, “Travis Scott is going to have to do a hell of a lot more than post a notes-app apology.” Indeed, Travis did promise to refund all Astroworld attendees. This was not enough however, as the amount of lawsuits against the event’s producer, Live Nation, Travis, other artists who performed, including Drake, and various companies and people involved, reached 108 by Friday evening. 

The blame comes down to not only Travis Scott, who didn’t stop the concert, not only to his team, who didn’t make the connection between the abundance of people and the correctly-sized space, paramedics, and security, but to how desensitized people have become. What it all comes down to is that the person dancing on top of the ambulance, the people yelling at the guy screaming  “STOP THE SHOW,” the people who stormed the show and began the push towards the stage are all responsible for the deaths of Mirza Danish Baig, 27, Madison Dubiski, 23, Rodolfo Peña, 23, Bharti Shahani, 22, Axel Acosta Avila, 21, Franco Patiña, 21, Jacob Jurinek, 20, Brianna Rodriguez, 16, and John Hilgert, 14. Let all the victims rest in peace, and let their families get the healing and justice they deserve. And as a community, let us work towards shedding the sickening coat of insensitivity and evil present at the Astroworld concert.