Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival tragedy was preventable

A detailed breakdown of the concert tragedy that left ten dead


Jamaal Ellis / Associated Press

Crowd tightly packed at Scott’s Astroworld Festival.

Being a fan of Travis Scott, I had always dreamt of going to a concert with my friends and jumping around to “Sicko Mode” and singing along to “Goosebumps.” I would have never imagined a mass-casualty event that occurred on Nov. 5 at Scott’s Astroworld Festival that had 50,000 people in attendance. As of Nov. 15, 10 people have died as a direct result of this concert. 

All dreams of going to a Travis Scott concert shattered. Instead, my eyes were opened. How could this happen? No one should have to worry about concert safety at a concert. A concertgoer is supposed to feel safe. 

For one, the responsibility falls on the talent and concert promoters to get the safety precautions right. Even though attendance was limited at 50,000 people, the space allocated for the concertgoers was far too small. Police and fire officials need to be aware of the plans beforehand by event coordinators so that fans can have a realistic expectation of their safety. Extra security to help the injured would also be helpful. 

“When you go to events, you expect to be safe. It’s not your job to be a fire marshal, medic, safety expert,” said Paul Wertheimer in an interview with CNN. “You have a right to assume that your safety is being looked after.”

Concertgoers yelled, “Stop the show!” but to no avail. A woman named Seanna Faith McCarty climbed up and pleaded with the cameraman to tell someone to stop the show, and another concertgoer identified as Ayden Cruz stood on the ladder of the camera platform and also yelled at the cameraman to stop the show. Nevertheless, Scott’s show still continued, and security failed to acknowledge the people screaming for help. 

“None of that came,” McCarty wrote in an Instagram post. “We continued to drown. More and more. One person fell, or collapsed, it doesn’t matter how it started. Once one fell, a hole opened in the ground. It was like watching Jenga tower topple. Person after person were sucked down. You could not guess from which direction the shove of hundreds of people would come next. You were at the mercy of the wave. I watched my friend be dragged away from me and lost sight of her. I began to realize at that moment that there is a way to die that not many people know about. Being trampled to death.”

There was also another opportunity to stop the show. At 9:30 p.m., an ambulance made its way through the crowd. Although Scott did pause the show, Houston fire chief Samuel Peña explained that Scott had further control over the crowd. 

“The artist, if he notices something that’s going on, he can certainly pause that performance, turn on the lights and say, ‘Hey, we’re not going to continue until this thing is resolved.’ That’s one way to do it, yes,” Peña said on NBC’s “TODAY” show

However, Scott’s lawyer, Edwin F. McPherson, explained on Good Morning America that neither Scott nor the crew were aware the concert was declared a mass casualty event. Although Scott has had a history of inciting chaos at concerts, there has been no evidence that Scott encouraged the crowd to get rowdy. 

“I’m not prepared to say that he was fully aware of the — of what was going on,”  Peña said. “All I’m saying is that everybody at that event — from the artist on down, security, and everybody that’s there to provide public safety, including the crowds, right? — in general, we all have a responsibility when we attend these venues to ensure each other’s safety. We’re a community at these events.”

Barricades were put in place to keep fans in control, but attendees still pushed through the barricades throughout the day. During the concert, the barricades acted as a cage, leaving concertgoers trapped. New footage shows that most of the deceased were in one highly packed area. 

“This was preventable. The crowd was allowed to get too dense and was not managed properly,” he said. “The fans were the victims of an environment in which they could not control,” Werthmeier said in an interview with Los Angeles Times

To donate to the victims’ families, there is a GoFundMe page available here.