Travis Scott and Responsibility

Gelila Zeray

Travis Scott, rapper of “SICKO MODE”, promised to pay the funeral expenses of those killed during the Astroworld music festival in Houston a few days ago in an apology video, but was he really responsible for what happened that night? 

Thousands of concertgoers rushed to the stage as Scott began his show on November 5th, 2021. In their hurry, 9 were killed and several injured during the crowd surge. Scott continued the concert for another hour even after it was considered a mass casualty event. The cause for this catastrophe is still unknown to investigators, but the victims’ families don’t need a clue to know who was at fault.

“[Travis Scott] You got blood on your hands man,” said Basil Baig, the brother of Danish, a man among those killed during Scott’s show. Baig, just like many of those who have been injured or lost loved ones during Astroworld, believe that Travis was liable for the disaster. However, who’s to say that he should be at fault? What if it was the crowd itself who caused the once-fun night to turn deadly?

John Fruin, a retired research engineer, wrote in a paper titled “The Causes and Prevention of Crowd Disasters” that individual control is lost in a rush and “one becomes an involuntary part of the mass”. That’s what crowd surges are: individual loses their own sense of direction for others as they blindly follow the herd. Crowd surges like this can happen anywhere, whether it’s to run away from danger or get close to your favorite celebrity. Whatever it is, fans played a part in the chaos, but so did Scott and his team when they didn’t stop the show sooner.

Scott could’ve stopped the show as soon as fans came up to the stage to exclaim that somebody was dead or when the festival was declared a mass casualty, but he continued and only for a brief moment did he consider someone in the crowd needed medical attention.

Both sides played a part in this catastrophe, and no matter who seems to be at fault, someone needs to step up and take responsibility for what happened. Whether it’s Scott’s staff for not having more safety precautions or someone in the crowd, someone has to own up to starting the rush.