AstroWorld was an avoidable nightmare

Loss of life should never be the risk when buying a ticket to a music festival; it is up to future organizers to remedy the failures of Travis Scott.

Opinion by Benjamin Royer, Valley Life Editor

Travis Scott's AstroWorld festival led to nine avoidable deaths. (Graphic by Matthew Royer/ The Valley Star)

AstroWorld exposed the dangerous reality that music festivals can bring: death.

With disregard for human life, hip-hop artist and record producer Travis Scott hosted his annual music festival in Houston, Texas this past weekend. AstroWorld was meant to represent a celebration of music after the turbulent COVID-19 pandemic led to the halt of live music and the cancelation of 2020’s version of the event.

“See you next year at AstroFest. Can’t wait to turn the f--- up! Stay Safe!” read a statement after the event was canceled.

Well, the two-day festival transpired, there were zero signs of safety and after day one, AstroWorld subsequently turned off its lights. With nine deaths and countless individuals injured, it is now time for the end of a moshing culture that Scott glamorizes. Music festivals need to return to what made their entertainment so great: bringing people together, not gathering to grieve someone’s death.

Teenagers rush to the main stage for an opportunity to see their favorite artists up close and personal. The crowd rushes lead to mosh pits which happen regularly at music festivals, creating chaos and a suffocating atmosphere. At AstroWorld, the moshing quickly became trampling as soon as Scott started to perform.

Music festival deaths and injuries are not rare. Scott’s role in enabling reckless crowd behavior during Saturday’s tragedy caused outrage over the gut-wrenching aftermath. Musical festivals were an asylum for up-and-coming musicians, but now are the last hours on earth for some teenagers. The youngest person to lose their life during this weekend was 14-years old.

“I turned around and saw a girl with her eyes rolling in the back of her head,” said an attendee who goes by the name Arvomck to Complex. “She seemed lifeless. Behind me, my brother was fighting to keep it together and began to panic as well. I felt myself starting to panic because I thought, ‘Yo, you might actually die here.’ I had to reassure myself that I’d be OK, somehow, and my brother helped me keep fighting back the rave.”

Thoughts and fears of death need to be pushed out of the brains of concertgoers. Organizers of festivals need to wake up and right the wrongs that AstroWorld brought.

Compromises need to be made with the development of mass attendance festivals in the future. Options to fix disaster from occurring again may be disliked, but provide a safe alternative for similar music experiences.

Venues with seating are one way to accomplish this. Instead of “Woodstock” style open-crowd festivals, future promoters should look towards what Los Angeles-based sites Hollywood Bowl and Greek Theatre provide. There is a lot of seating to watch dancers, singers, rappers and other entertainment perform, while also having room for generous picnic zones to enjoy the time before the headliner has begun their set.

The truth is, everything that happened on Nov. 5 in Houston was avoidable. From the security measures to the avoidance of COVID-19 regulations and the final toll the event had on attendees, chaos was preventable.

Scott and the organizers of this year’s edition of AstroWorld should be charged for their role in the disaster. Making an example from the negligence that Scott showed before, during and after the festival should be the top priority to prevent another avoidable tragedy.