Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Comment

Artists Responsibility and Astroworld

Mia Stricevic on the Astrowrld disaster and the role and responsibilities of artists to protect their fans. 

We are now just over a week on from the tragic events that took place at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival and what first appeared as a shocking headline in the 10 O’clock news will be fading fast for many people. But for those that were caught in the crowd surges on November 5 which caused ten fatalities and left hundreds injured the memory will never fade. As witness accounts have spread online of paramedics and fans testifying to the chaotic security and manic energy fostered by Travis Scott’s high energy performance, questions are being raised about the responsibilities artists face to keep their fans safe at concerts.

Since his rise to popularity in the mid-2010s, rapper Travis Scott has gained a reputation for his high energy performances and reckless approach to safety during his concerts. In 2017 he was filmed at a New York show encouraging a young man to jump from the second-story balcony into the crowd below, the man was left paralysed on his left side.  A month later he was arrested for disorderly conduct after allegedly inciting a riot at his show in Arkansas. The fact that this type of behaviour is a repeated pattern for Scott and yet he continues to perform without consequence perhaps tells us something about his character. Ingrained into the Travis Scott brand is the idea that his shows are lawless and wild, the onus seems to be on the fans to keep themselves safe and not the security who are paid to do just that.

Cancelled due to Coronavirus last year, Astroworld 2021 saw its biggest sale of tickets yet as people flocked to Houston where the festival took place after being starved of live music for so long. Not only did people 50,000 ticketed people attend but earlier in the day hundreds of desperate fans broke down the barriers and rushed past security to get into the festival without tickets. Anarchy ensued, fuelled by alcohol, the hotly anticipated return to live music and an utterly shameful lack of security.

Though Travis Scott is not alone in holding wild concerts and festivals, the culture around concerts is often fairly lawless. Not often sober events, people at gigs are usually drinking, and far more intoxicated than the artist. At this point then, we must ask where the power lies and although the artist – who people have paid to see – usually commands the room, or festival grounds, the effects of alcohol certainly don’t help this power imbalance. But for an artist such as Travis Scott to claim he is not responsible for his fan’s actions even though he is often seen actively preaching dangerous behaviour to drunk young people, seems wilfully ignorant and completely immoral.

Staunch supporters of Travis Scott have come to his defence citing the huge crowds as a reason for his inability to come to the aid of his fans. These people claim that it would have been impossible for Travis to see the events unfolding before him with such a large mass of people gathered. However, amongst the eyewitness accounts and footage from within the crowd, video was captured of Scott stopping his song to get assistance for someone who had fainted. Medics arrived at the scene and the rapper went back to performing while the rest of the tragic events unfolded. This shows that he was, on some level, conscious of the chaos unfolding but not so concerned that he stopped the show for any real amount of time to check on the safety of his fans.

Artists arguably much bigger than Travis Scott such as Adele have stopped shows to get medical attention to people who have fainted or simply to ask crowds to comply with security. This demonstrates that it’s not so much the numbers in the crowd but the willingness of the artist and security to work together to ensure the health and safety of fans.

It shouldn’t take ten deaths at an artist’s own concert to highlight the importance of security. What took place at Astroworld need not have occurred had careful and considerate planning been given to the security and wellbeing of fans. Reflecting on the night in question it’s easy to shake our heads at Travis Scott and all those responsible for the organisation of the concert but this wouldn’t be justice for those dealing with the traumatic loss of loved ones and sustained injuries. As legal action is brought against the rapper and his team it’s time to demand that artists take responsibility for working properly with security to ensure the wellbeing of their fans. Only then can we ensure that no other concert becomes the terrifying reality that so many experienced at Astroworld 2021.

Latest

Events

Science Editor Jana Bazeed presents KCL Robotics, a nominee at the King’s College Students’ Union (KCLSU) Awards 2024. With the awards set for 28...

Comment

Staff writer Samira Siakantari, an exchange student at UCLA, recounts her experience of the police crackdown on the UCLA Pro-Palestinian encampment, arguing student protestors...

Interior of a Westminster pub. Interior of a Westminster pub.

Culture

Staff Writer Leah Napier-Raikes explains the success of ‘Baby Reindeer’, a gripping narrative about stalking and abuse. Since its debut on April 11th, ‘Baby...

a female a cappella group on stage a female a cappella group on stage

Culture

Editor-in-Chief Nia Simeonova presents The Rolling Tones, a nominee at the King’s College London Students’ Union (KCLSU) Awards 2024. With the awards set for...

Events

Editor-in-Chief Nia Simeonova presents Women in Business, a nominee at the King’s College London Students’ Union (KCLSU) Awards 2024. With the awards set for...

Culture

Editor-in-Chief Nia Simeonova presents The Rolling Tones, a nominee at the King’s College London Students’ Union (KCLSU) Awards 2024. With the awards set for...

Culture

Staff Writer Cruz Glynka overviews London’s music festival offer and recommends six events worth checking out. The weather is warming, and the sun is...

Events

KCL Jazz Society will host a free end-of-semester concert – ‘Swinging and Singing’ – on Wednesday 10 April, from 16:00 until 18:00 in the Greenwood Theatre....

Culture

Staff Writer Anoushka Singh analyses Taylor Swift’s rise to money, fame and stardom commenting on her now global impact. Taylor Swift recently went on...