Posted on: November 10, 2021 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Photo by Erika Goldring/WireImage

Rage and aggression have always fueled the flame that is a Travis Scott concert. Scott is known for his high-energy shows and is regarded as one of the best performers of this generation. People look forward to his concerts as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but nobody could have predicted the catastrophe that happened last weekend at Scott’s Astroworld Festival. On second thought, maybe we could have.

What was supposed to be an amazing experience turned into a tragedy. The death count is now up to 10 people, the youngest a 9-year-old boy. With Astroworld 2020 cancelled due to COVID-19, Scott’s already rowdy fanbase may have had too much pent-up energy to unleash, and the pandemic may be to blame.

Ethan Holesha

Managing Editor

This festival started out strange; even before the crowd surge, it was a recipe for disaster. At 9 a.m. on Nov. 5, concert goers had already breached the main gate. At least eight more breaches throughout the first day of the festival were reported, with 3,000 to 5,000 spectators that were not scanned by 5:05 p.m.

With the pandemic confining people in their houses for more than a year, and the need to make up for lost time, I feel as if the sudden rush of excitement and other emotions overcame these fans, and they acted without thinking.

Scott’s fans are known for being rebellious: stage diving, crowd surfing, moshing. But the behavior at Astroworld obviously crossed the line. The scariest part of this whole situation is that it almost seemed like something like this was bound to happen.

But why? Looking back at the series of events, yes, there should have been more security, and yes, the event was clearly understaffed. But I put the blame mostly on the haywire emotions of the fans. There are videos of fans breaching the gates, knocking over metal detectors, and running past security and cops. There had to be some reason that these fans were so out of control.

While a lot of my anger goes towards the fans themselves, maybe something like this was unavoidable.

An article in The Atlantic describes the PTSD many people have been facing as a result of the pandemic. Ed Yong explains, “Some will recover uneventfully, but for others, the quiet moments after adrenaline fades and normalcy resumes may be unexpectedly punishing. When they finally get a chance to exhale, their breaths may emerge as sighs. ‘People put their heads down and do what they have to do, but suddenly, when there’s an opening, all these feelings come up,’ Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, the founder and director of the Trauma Stewardship Institute, told me.”

Photo via Instagram (@astroworldfest)
Travis Scott brings out Drake which hyped up the crowd even more, causing more chaos on day one of the Astroworld Festival.

The line “but suddenly, when there’s an opening, all these feeling come up” really stuck with me. In a concert situation with a high-energy artist like Travis Scott, people are supposed to “rage.” But after a year in isolation, people took it to the extreme. The result is that 10 young people died.

Some people blame Travis Scott, but I disagree. Scott stopped the show multiple times when he saw someone he thought was passed out, waited to see if they were okay, and then continued the show. The videos of people screaming for help are heartbreaking to watch, but those people were so far from the stage that Scott had no clue what they were saying. And with all of these pandemic emotions bottled up, Scott was fighting an uphill battle.

Many people are critiquing the apology video Scott uploaded to Instagram because it seemed disingenuous. But how do you expect someone to react? I’m sure he was still in shock from the whole situation. Scott has offered to cover all of the victims’ funeral expenses and has offered therapy to the Astroworld festival attendees. Reports from Nov. 13 state that Scott has yet to leave his house since the tragedy and feels “devastated,” according to his lawyer.

Because of the pandemic, sadly, it almost seems as if something like this was guaranteed to happen eventually. As terrible as this situation has been, I hope that it is a learning experience for everyone involved; and even for those on the outside looking in.

We need to recognize that the pandemic was detrimental to so many people not only physically, but maybe even more mentally. If you need help, don’t be afraid to talk about your emotions. With the Astroworld tragedy at the center of attention, hopefully changes will be made to avoid this kind of situation at future concerts and other large gatherings. It’s just scary to see how sometimes it can feel like it’s out of our control.