Neglect, chaos, and tragedy: Astroworld 2021

How some Emmaus listeners abandon Scott’s music


Astroworld Festival is an annual music festival held by Scott since 2018. Photo courtesy of Astroworld Festival.

Sydnie Howard, Former Deputy Features Editor

One festival, over 50,000 people, hundreds injured, and 10 dead. The 2021 Astroworld festival held in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 5 became a concert deadlier than Woodstock in a matter of minutes.

Panic and desperation rapidly spread over the sea of young fans, mostly made of students and teenagers, as Texas-grown rapper Travis Scott took the stage that Friday night at 9 p.m. The chaos unraveled when the crowd surged towards the stage, people yelling and screaming as bodies were helplessly submerged and battered off one another. 

The event has sparked outrage, as even Emmaus High School students remain shocked at what happened.

Some suffocated, while others collapsed and were trampled on. People fell unconscious, while fellow concertgoers crowd-surfed their bodies over barricades for medical attention. Friends lost contact with each other in the havoc, sinkholes of bodies piled on the ground, and people cried out for the concert to stop. Trapped like cattle, in waves of trepidation, there was seemingly no way out of the cage. 

Seanna McCarty, an Astroworld concertgoer, took to Instagram on Nov. 6 with a written post sharing her traumatic experience the night before. 

“There was a floor of bodies, of men and women, below two layers of fallen people above them,” McCarty said. “You could not guess from which direction the shove of hundreds of people would come next. You were at the mercy of the wave.”

The ten people who passed away ranged from ages 9 to 27, according to city officials. The other hundreds of injured victims who managed to escape sought treatment at the concert venue’s medical center. Astroworld was advertised with no age limit or regulations, with the youngest victim being a nine-year-old boy.

“There were many people just standing there,” McCarty said. “Like nothing was happening. Like people weren’t dead a few feet away from them.” 

From the perspective of Travis Scott performing on stage and having a view of the 50,000 people fighting for their lives, the pressing question is: Why didn’t he stop it? 

Roughly 30 minutes into Scott’s performance, a medical vehicle attempted to push through the crowd in order to reach those who were injured or unconscious. Red flashing lights reflected across the sea of people fighting for their lives, meanwhile, the concert continued. People were even recorded climbing on top of the vehicle, dancing and jumping.

Sydney Kline, a senior at Emmaus High School and previous Travis Scott listener, no longer supports the artist after his repeated neglective behavior. 

“I don’t support him. I can’t after he showed so little empathy for his suffering fans,” Kline said. “When I saw videos on TikTok of people explaining their stories, that’s when I was shocked. People explained how they had to walk over bodies to get to safety.”

Scott wasn’t the only one who made no attempt to stop the massacre. A video quickly began circulating on Twitter showing a woman climbing up a ladder onto a platform where a cameraman was filming the concert. She repeatedly yelled, “People are dead! Stop the concert!” 

However, her cries for help were ignored while the cameraman continued to film the stage. It is unclear as to whether the cameraman couldn’t hear the woman, or if he was just trying to do his job and following protocol.

Ryan Gaughan, an Emmaus senior, knows who should be held accountable for the devastating events at Astroworld.

“Travis Scott and Ticketmaster Live Nation I believe should be held responsible because Live Nation has been around forever and has had experience before with fans dying at shows (ex. Pearl Jam) and know of Travis Scott’s behavior at shows prior,” Gaughan said. “In an idealistic world we would call out the crowd for behaving the way they did but when it comes down to it, Travis encouraged it and should be held responsible.”

At 10:10 p.m., Live Nation halted the concert, roughly 30 minutes before the festival was supposed to end. However, this was a whole 40 minutes after the event began to escalate.

Hordes of people broke free and rushed out of the venue seeking medical assistance, while some carried the bodies of unconscious friends and strangers. The mass casualty event had ended, however, the after-effects were far from faded.

Scott took to Twitter on Nov. 6 with a note’s app written apology, sending “prayers” towards the victims and their families. 

“I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night,” Scott said. “I am committed to working together with the Huston community to heal and support the families in need.”

Although, there were many people who thought of his note apology as disingenuous and a poor way of addressing the situation. Scott then proceeded to upload a video to his Instagram story, explaining that he hadn’t been able to “see the severity of the situation” from his position on stage.

Along with covering the funeral costs for the victims that had passed, Scott announced his partnership with BetterHelp, a therapy app, offering one free month of use to the victims of Astroworld.

For many, still, this was not enough. 

McCarty began spreading awareness through Instagram, advocating for victims, and providing links for alternative, zero-cost therapy that victims of Astroworld can turn to. 

“I can’t write anymore. To all the souls lost tonight, you were robbed,” McCarty said. “Remember through all of this, those we lost are who we fight for.”