For those of you who don’t keep up with pop culture news, last weekend, rapper Travis Scott (you might know him from his guest performance at 2019’s Super Bowl halftime show or his collaboration with McDonald’s) held a huge music festival in Houston. What was supposed to be a fun night for dedicated fans quickly turned deadly when the crowd surged as soon as Scott took the stage. Sadly, by the end of the night, eight people, all under the age of 30, had died, and many more were hospitalized with serious injuries. But as new (and somewhat confusing) information comes out, where should we put the blame here?

Some of the no-nonsense folks out there will immediately say it belongs on the fans who rushed the stage, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Those people did make the conscious decision to harm others when they shoved their way to the front. An attendee stated that she even had to resort to biting a man to get him to move so that she could leave. Some of those people didn’t stop to help when someone passed out, even though it’s an unspoken rule of avid music festival-goers. 

Many of us hold Scott partially responsible. And we wouldn’t be completely wrong either. Loyal fans have defended him, stating that fainting is normal at music festivals and there was no way he could have recognized that these victims were dead instead of simply passing out. There is a video on Twitter where Scott noticed someone who has passed out and stopped the show for a moment. Near the end of the concert, Scott briefly paused the show again when an ambulance drove through the crowd. However, I truly believe he could have done so much more to help prevent this tragedy. Despite his girlfriend’s claim that neither of them knew what exactly was happening, witnesses’ videos have proved otherwise. A viral video even showed two concertgoers climbing a camera platform to alert staff of a death in the crowd and told them to stop the show, but when Scott caught wind, he called them out and continued with the show. 

Also, Scott was performing on an incredibly tall platform, but it’s not clear whether or not he noticed the chaos over the loud music and flashing lights; yet, in videos, it almost appears that he’s looking directly at officers and medical personnel as they remove victims’ bodies.

Scott has already been arrested twice for inciting riots and encouraging fans to break through security at his shows. He’s also being sued by a man who was partially paralyzed in 2017 when he was pushed from a third-floor balcony; allegedly, Scott encouraged the crowd to jump and join the mosh pit on the base floor. When a fan tried to steal his shoe, Scott urged the crowd to attack him. Clearly, his concerts already have a reputation for being unruly, but as Houston’s chief of police stated, Scott and his staff had the ultimate authority to stop the show.

With that in mind, we could also point to the event organizers, staff, and security. If Scott’s shows tend to be dangerous, why didn’t the event’s emergency response plan include catastrophic events such as crowd crush, surging... even moshpits, and crowd surfing (which regularly happen at his events)? In the plan, the only disturbance they planned for was riots, and even with that, there was no plan of action if one broke out. The text stated, “The key to properly dealing with this type of scenario [riots] is proper management of the crowd from the minute the doors open.” Obviously, this did not happen as well as it should have.

Honestly, it seems like everyone involved could take at least a bit of the blame here. As lawsuits pile up and more information comes out, it will certainly be interesting to find who the court of law assigns the overall blame to in this tragic event.

Ashley Wilkinson is the sports reporter for The Henderson News. Her email is ©2021, Henderson Newspapers Inc.

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