Students shocked after Travis Scott music festival tragedy

Payton Anderson and Tara Kapoor

Students are rethinking their support of rapper Travis Scott and the safety of attending future concerts after 10 people were killed in a crowd stampede at his Astroworld festival on Nov. 8 in Houston, Texas.

Palo Alto High School Junior Sam Kaplinsky said he debated attending the concert, but decided last minute not to go due to flight times and pricing. Kaplinsky said, as a fan of Scott’s, he is disappointed in how Scott managed the situation regarding the safety of his fans. 

“I think the way that he [Travis Scott] handled the events at the concert was irresponsible,” Kaplinsky said. “I separate that from my opinion of him [and his music].”

According to Kaplinsky, the emotion Scott showed an apology video he released following the concert held some substance, but not enough to compensate for the magnitude of Astroworld’s consequences. Kaplinsky said Astroworld should strengthen its safety protocols to prevent anything like this from happening at future festivals. 

“Travis Scott got too caught up with trying to create a crazy and hyped-up concert, and just thought that people passing out was part of the concert environment,” Kaplinsky said.

With victims ranging in age from 10 to 27 due to Scott’s younger demographic, the night took a turn for the worst as fans were seen passing out amid the stampede of audience members. According to the Houston Police Department, Scott and Astroworld organizers did nothing to act in the moment to help those for those being brutally injured during the festival. Now, survivors and the families of the deceased are filing lawsuits against Scott, according to Astroworld’s legal team.

Junior Calvin Wong, a longtime fan of Scott’s, recalls his first Astroworld concert experience in 2019. Wong said that environment’s safety was questionable then, and is not surprised the recent festival had the outcome that it did.

“The area in front of the stage was just general admission with no real seating,” Wong said. “I was sitting above in the upper dome seating looking down at the mosh pits, and they were crazy.”

As a result of the tragedies that proceeded the recent Astroworld festival, Wong said he is rethinking his support of Scott. According to Wong, the deaths that followed the festival show that Scott was inconsiderate when it came to the safety of his audience.

“It’s really sad to see how many people pass away  because they praise Travis Scott so much,” Wong said. “People really shouldn’t because he doesn’t know who they even are.”

Scott’s reputation precedes him — this is not the first time his concerts have spiraled out of control. Scott was arrested in 2015 for inciting a “riot” among his fans at the Lollapalooza Music Festival and again in 2017 for encouraging fans to rush the stage at a concert in Arkansas, according to Chicago and Arkansas police departments. 

In light of the safety issues at Scott’s festival and spikes in COVID-19 cases in areas hosting concerts, some students are reconsidering their plans to attend concerts in the coming weeks. At a Pitbull concert at Shoreline Amphitheater last month, almost all attendees were unmasked and the arena was packed, according to senior Agnes Mar.

“They didn’t require proof of vax [vaccination] and no one really wore their masks,” Mar said. “I was in the mosh [packed crowd of audience members dancing] the whole time and it was definitely way more crowded than I thought.”

Despite the packed nature of the concert, Mar said, there was no stampede. Mar said she felt safe from COVID-19 as she was vaccinated along with her friend group, though she said proof of vaccination at future concerts would be preferable for safety.