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Started by GreenFuture on Nov 15, 2021 5:26:52 PM
Travis Scott / Astroworld Disaster: Ramifications & Context.

You're probably aware that on Nov 5th there was an awful crowd-crush incident at a festival in Houston Texas, during the set by headliner and brain behind the show, Travis Scott - a huge name in rap.

A 10th person has now died, a young boy.

I have followed the case quite closely. There are a huge range of issues that spin off from it. I won't lay out my impressions in the OP. I'm more interested to first see impressions without prompting, so please start off how you like.

I won't even link. There's a myriad you can choose from yourself. It's bleak stuff though, and aspects are jaw-dropping.

I've not seen a thread anywhere on JTT yet. It's certainly huge enough to justify one. Considered posting this in US folder, but didn't want it to get too political, there are cultural aspects and industry consequences that interest me more (with political connotations tho)


Agaliarept - 15 Nov 2021 17:33:13 (#1 of 11)

I remember when all those kids died watching Pearl Jam at Roskilde Festival.

Mosh pits at festivals were set up different after (not always) but I saw a really big change in how crowds were physically managed.

Massive walkways were put through the middle of the pits so centre stage is basically in front of an empty space.

You can see the walkway lined by stewards. I assumed this was common practice at bigger gigs nowadays.

I've been in a crowd surge at a Metallica gig, the whole pit fell over and the front of the crowd went like dominoes. There's nothing you can do but stand on people, it's terrifying.

TenGorillas - 15 Nov 2021 17:48:35 (#2 of 11)

Absolute criminal negligence in my view. The risk and risk management procedures are well known and were catastrophically ignored. I saw someone on twitter going OMG this has never happened before. Um it happens all the time, that's why we don't encourage people to sneak in without tickets numbnut.

melpomene - 15 Nov 2021 17:59:39 (#3 of 11)

I understand that Travis Scott and Drake encouraged the crowd to rush the stage, which is irresponsible in the extreme. And that TS has also been called out before for doing this, so he knew exactly what would happen.

dreams99 - 15 Nov 2021 18:01:45 (#4 of 11)

Yes, Scott has form, and bears responsibility. The security appears to have been poor to non-existent.

GreenFuture - 15 Nov 2021 18:14:09 (#5 of 11)

The last 2 times I went to Glastonbury (somewhere around '99) - it was the time before the new fence and the time after.

I'd always been a bit on the naive / rebel hippy side of thing against a more solid fence.

The last year of the old fence, Saturday night: Manics were playing the main space and Stereophonics the second space. Great time to be Welsh with a couple of pills inside you.

Anyhow, there's a strict curfew for stage acts at Glasters as part of the regs, so the acts finsihed within perhaps 10 mins of one another.

Where the departing crowds converged was literally a single farmers-gate wide (maybe still is, not been since). That's several 10,000s of folk, many of whom can assumed to be pretty whammed out.

That was easily the most anxious I've ever been about stampede, and it wasn't the drugz, anyone wouldn't have been. If something had gone wrong it could have made made Hillsborough look small by comparison.

Of course, the vibe was nothing like to bring on the sort of panic that can accelerate the dynamics, hippies and other experienced festival types can be remarkably sensible at times.

But I damn well saw the sense to a new fence after that night.

Next year was notably less populated, but still to official capacity.


It's been much remarked since Astroworld tragedy that metallers and punks have a very different culture to their moshing. I think that might be a bit unfair to any rap parallel (I admit I didn't even know it was a 'thing' in rap, seems recent-ish, interested if posters can inform)

That said, the Metallica event you describe seems like some poor planning, but I take it the crowd reaction was stable enough to avoid too much harm?

The crowd in ST's hometown was very young. Many of them may not have been at a crowded event for years because C***d, some never at all.

Readers probably know how much has emerged of ST's schtick - that he basically feeds off the "rage" and is beyond reckless about it.

It strikes me as more what the act is than anything. Sounds reductive, but it strikes me as a bloke shouting or mumbling to a backing tape, perhaps with a vocoder, while people get trampled in front of him. That's the act. People seem to like it though. I've not read much of his lyrics yet, but will do - because I want to confirm there's nothing overtly Satanic in order to counter the inevitable conspiracy stuff that has sprung up - appealing to Christian evangelicals and Conspiracy Land orthodoxies alike.

But when I mention how popular he is - a former guy who worked with him was interviewed, hates ST now as ST walked out on him having a seizure. Says that he broke into the scene via Soundcloud, but a lot of effort was put into "botting out" the plays and followers. This was when those kind of numbers attracted promoters, A&R etc.

Linking to his relationship to The Kardashians, the tragedy seems to have a lot to say about celebrity in the social media age. It seems to be a more ravenous beast than even before. Like "Society Of The Spectacle" taken to the next level.

Anyway, I suppose the Kardashians (more narcissists garnering attention for god-knows-what reason) are in full retreat mode, manifesting the spirit of Gethsemane.

I don't want at any time to overlook the tragedy not just of deaths and injury, but for the trauma of all who were there.

I hope it causes some younger people to think about who they look up to. It's natural to admire someone or like their work, especially when we're young - all the hero worship stuff. But it would be nice to at least do it to someone who gives a fk about you, rather than leave you to suffocate while he does a dumb robot dance on a platform about 30 metres away. Christ, the whole thing is so squalid.

I'll leave my splurge there for now. Thanks folks for getting the ball rolling.

GreenFuture - 15 Nov 2021 18:16:12 (#6 of 11)

The security appears to have been poor to non-existent.

I take it you've seen interviews with the young people taken on for the job without any scrutiny whatsoever. Seems the sourcing was very ad hoc, though the event organisers are a world-class name. Or were.

There were security plans, but they certainly didn't get carried out.

GreenFuture - 15 Nov 2021 18:23:25 (#7 of 11)


One murky aspect of discussion of this is that the convergence with social media world risks the tragedy being lost in the appetite for "drama" which drives so much of that world.

But the most prevalent vibe around at the moment is justifiably one of anger.

Without being gossipy about it, I wonder what the implications for Drake are, and how he might work himself lose of damaging association.

He went out with TS after the show. It's thought nigh on impossible that they couldn't have known the scale of the disaster at that point. Without getting too political or psychological for now, the optics are rum as all fk.

Agaliarept - 15 Nov 2021 18:29:55 (#8 of 11)

It's been much remarked since Astroworld tragedy that metallers and punks have a very different culture to their moshing.

We do. It's a general rule but in my experience it's mostly correct that the more heavy the band, the nicer the people in the mosh pit.

But I'm careful about making this about a type of music. As I said this happened during Pearl Jam in 2000. 9 dead.

The Metallica crush was at The Big Day Out in Milton Keynes Bowl..Not even sure what caused it but once it started you were a passenger.

I've been at loads of gigs where the gig has stopped and the band has had to ask everyone to take 2 steps backwards.

To be honest i'm more surprised this sort of thing isn't more common.

I definitely have memories of those walks you describe at Glasto at other festivals. Trudging shoulder to shoulder with 25 thousand people. No control over the speed, you cannot stop or change direction....definite downside to festivals.

melpomene - 15 Nov 2021 18:34:26 (#9 of 11)

GF, yes the 'optics' of TS and Drake going out straight afterwards, and changing their stories about when they knew that people have died are not a good look.

However, there will be a new scandal soon and it will be forgotten. Sadly.

Ginmonkey - 15 Nov 2021 18:43:23 (#10 of 11)

This is why festivals have maximum crowd capcity and there should be spaces to the front and sides of the crowd to "release" pressure if a crush happens.

If you see most large fesitvals there is a reason by there is a large empty space at the front and a line if security staff.

GreenFuture - 20 Nov 2021 01:14:48 (#11 of 11)

This 2bn lawsuit is in addition to others including a 750m announced a couple of days ago.

Not all of this will fall on the shoulders of TS, but he's still on the hook for vast amounts.

Perhaps he should get a paper round to help alleviate the pressure.

His karaoke / vocoder act consists cheifly of the muttering and snarling of a 14 year old.

He may as well work like one for a while.

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