Over the weekend, eight people died and hundreds were hospitalized after being crushed by a swelling sea of bodies at a music festival called Astroworld founded by and featuring musical artist Travis Scott.
The event hosted 50,000+ people in Houston and is now being classified as a mass casualty event. Crowd surge or crowd crush is a phenomenon that occurs at large events (mainly concerts) where event goers at the back of the room push forward to try and get a better spot closer to the stage. They do so in such mass numbers that it causes the entire crowd to be caught up in a codependent sea of bodies where if one person moves another must also in chain reaction. It’s an extremely dangerous situation when people push so hard that there is not space for oxygen and for lungs to fill and release.
In the case of Astroworld, the situation became fatal when the crowd crushed and event goers could not get out. There have been countless on the ground videos of the event showing a series of failures including no exits by the stage, not enough security and not quick enough response times.
But the question circulating around the internet and by event goers has been: is this Travis Scott’s fault?
Scott is being sued by those injured at the event saying that it was avoidable and that Scott should have stopped the show when the situation became so obviously dangerous and when the screams from the crowd became so clearly screams of panic and not cheers of excitement. As lifeless bodies were carried out on stretchers, Scott continued to perform, asking the crowd to “throw their hands in the air.” Some would say his behavior was criminally irresponsible and cost the lives of his own fans including a 14 year old boy and a 15 year old girl.
Some would say it’s not his fault because he couldn’t see the situation unfolding. Some would counter that he absolutely could see and even stopped the concert for a moment to point out individuals in need of emergency care by EMTs and THEN kept going on with his show. Some would also counter that many many other artists have encountered these unsafe scenarios and stopped their concert until the crowd behaved.
The videos from the event are truly horrifying. A young woman scaled a video tower to cry for help and ask the show to be stopped because someone had died. The show did not stop. Hundreds of people passed out from suffocation and woke up in other areas of the festival lucky to be alive, saved by some good samaritan. The screams were clearly of panic.
Scott has apologized via social media video. Is it enough?