Travis Scott likes to incite mayhem. And to his followers, the brushes ―Something like ragers―They like it that way. The unhinged energy of his concertgoers is part of the 30-year-old rapper’s hallmark. Until now, that disorder had only cost him two charges for encouraging riots in his performances, charges from which he got rid by pleading guilty and paying fines. But last Friday, with Scott on the stage of the Astroworld music festival, which he founded in his native Houston, misgovernment exceeded all limits: the night ended with eight dead, between 14 and 27 years old, and dozens of injured . The criminal investigation into how the tragedy happened points to the superstar, who already faces more than a dozen lawsuits, according to local media.
Before the concert began, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner visited Scott in his trailer to express his “public safety concerns” that night, Finner revealed in a tweet Monday. The rapper’s concerts are often a challenge for Houston security forces, so a 56-page plan was prepared. It was “based on site design” and took into account “numerous past experiences [de problemas del rapero]”, According to the letter, to which he had access The New York Times. “The potential for multiple drug / alcohol related incidents, potential evacuation needs, and the constant threat of a high-casualty situation are identified as key concerns.”
To this breeding ground, it was added that for many of the attendees it was the first massive concert after 18 months of the pandemic, in which live music activity came to a halt in the United States.
Outside the compound, the Houston Fire Department had posted about 20 ambulances. One of them made its way through the audience around 9:30 p.m., almost half an hour after Scott took the stage. The music stopped. In a video shared on social networks, the artist is seen turning to his team and asking what was happening. “Everyone knows what they came to do!” He immediately told the 50,000 attendees, before the music began to play again. He then asked them to “shake the ground.” Words served as gasoline for a feverish mass of passion. Between shoves and screams, some attendees asked the rapper to stop the show, but he did not find out. At the end of the night, 62 ambulances were needed.
The recital ended half an hour earlier than scheduled, but almost 40 minutes after the security forces declared it an “incident with the capacity to cause a high number of victims.” Finner has defended the decision to have continued, arguing that an abrupt disruption could have caused a riot.
Fire Chief Samuel Peña said Sunday that Scott and organizers could have stepped in and stopped the show. “The only person who can really ask for and get a tactical pause when something goes wrong is the artist. They have a wide private security system and they have a responsibility ”, he affirmed in an interview with a local media.
Kylie Jenner, her partner, who is expecting their second child together, wrote to her 280 million followers on Instagram Sunday: “I want to make it clear that we were not aware of any deaths until the news came out after the show. Had he known, he would not have continued the show and I would not have continued recording it ”. That night, the youngest of the Kardashians was in Houston, recording the festival with her mobile from a secure platform.
The rapper has promised to refund the money for the tickets to all attendees and will partner with the portal BetterHelp to provide free mental health help to all those affected by the tragedy.
The causes of death for the eight victims, including two teenagers, are still awaiting forensic reports, a process that can take several weeks. Meanwhile, Travis Scott will cover the costs of the funerals, a representative of the artist reported this Monday through a statement. The second night of the event was canceled by the live music multinational Live Nation, owner of the brand. Scott has already announced that he will not participate this coming weekend at the Day N Vegas Festival as planned.
The Netflix documentary about Scott Look Mom I Can Fly (2019) is a kind of prologue to the tragedy of last Friday. The film shows the alienation of the artist’s public and how it incites them to be out of control. At a concert at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in 2017, a fan walks out on crutches while shouting for joy: “I survived, I survived! Everything is alright!”.
That same year, a man named Kyle Green sued Scott after attending one of his concerts in New York where, he claimed, he was pushed from an upstairs balcony. Green was left paraplegic from the incident. Before that, another follower of the artist launched from the same site after the rapper encouraged him to do so. “They are going to catch you. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid!”.
Scott and Astroworld organizers are already facing more than a dozen lawsuits over Friday’s events. “We are sickened by the devastating tragedy. Travis Scott has a history of inciting violence and creating dangerous conditions for concert goers, “said attorneys for Manuel Souza, who” suffered serious injuries when the uncontrolled crowd threw him to the ground and stomped on him, “according to the lawsuit.
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