The Astroworld Festival fallout has already begun
The festival’s eight deaths are prompting refunds, lawsuits, and cancelations.
Just days after his own Astroworld Festival, Travis Scott was expected to headline Day N Vegas, another massive show in Las Vegas on Nov. 13. But after the first day of Astroworld turned into a tragic hellscape last Friday night — leaving eight people dead, more than two dozen hospitalized, and hundreds of others injured — Scott has cancelled his show in Las Vegas. Sources told Variety that Scott is “too distraught to play” and that he would also refund all those who bought tickets to Astroworld.
More horrifying details continue to emerge in the days since the massive 50,000-strong crowd surged toward the stage and the concert turned deadly. Meanwhile, Scott is already beginning to face lawsuits (one lawsuit has also been filed against Scott, festival producer Live Nation, NRG Stadium, and Drake, who also performed Friday night). A suit filed by 23-year old concertgoer Kristian Paredes alleges that Scott “incited the crowd.” Another claims that Scott “recklessly encouraged fans to breach the barriers and otherwise actively encouraged a culture of violence."
Indeed, many have placed blame on Scott for continuing to perform while ambulances were visible in the crowd. (Fire officials apparently initiated a “mass-casualty incident” at 9:30 p.m., and the show stopped 40 minutes later, though the sequence of events is still in question). Houston Police Chief Troy Finner also reportedly visited Scott in his trailer before the show to voice concerns about the energy in the crowd. Reports and video footage do indicate that the artist briefly paused the show briefly at some points to point security toward individual attendees in distress. Some claim, though, that his awareness at these moments should have been enough to provoke him to stop the show altogether, or take more serious action.
When the crowd began to chant for Scott to stop the show, video footage also appears to show him dismissing the situation. In one harrowing video, a concertgoer is desperately begging for the show to stop and telling those behind him that “people are dying.” In the background, Scott can be heard saying to the crowd, “Who asked me to stop? Two hands up, y’all two hands up. Y’all know what y’all came to do.”
It is still up in the air how aware Scott was of the level of danger that thousands of concertgoers were in. In a video he posted on Instagram Live the next day, Scott said, “I could just never imagine the severity of the situation.” But, as many have noted, the artist has, more than most, a reputation specifically for rowdy shows in which he hypes his fans into potentially dangerous situations. In a show in 2017, he egged on a fan to jump from a second story balcony (in the same show, another fan fell from a third story balcony and was paralyzed as a result).
It can be hard, in the context of his past pattern and the videos that are circulating of the night, to wholeheartedly believe Scott is ostensibly “too distraught,” and not instead see his exit from Day N Vegas purely as damage control over the legal ramifications to come. (Scott is also scheduled to headline Coachella in spring of 2022.) And his formal response thus far — a Notes app message he posted that reads as a stilted PR statement, along with the minute-and-a-half IG Live video — fail to read as entirely genuine when faced with the evidence of his seemingly cavalier, or, as lawsuits claim, even instigating, attitude on stage.
“I’m honestly just devastated,” Scott said in his video. “I could never imagine anything like this just happening.” Unfortunately, it is in fact tragically plausible that something like this might happen at a Travis Scott show more than most other places.