Editorial | Those responsible for the tragedy at the Astroworld Festival need to be held accountable


(AP Photo/Robert Bumsted)

Stacey Sarmiento places flowers at a memorial in Houston on Sunday to honor her friend, Rudy Peña, who died at the Astroworld music festival.

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

Concerts should be a safe space — somewhere where you can let loose and enjoy your favorite artist’s music — not the sites of tragedy. At Travis Scott’s Astroworld Music Festival, eight people were killed and dozens were injured after fans rushed the stage to get closer to the rapper. The concert continued for about 30 minutes after the ambulances approached, leading to even more injuries. 

While Houston officials said it’s too early to say what exactly caused the deaths — whether it was a lack of adequate security, greedy concert organizers or Scott himself inciting the crowd — there needs to be consequences for those responsible. The death of eight people is absolutely inexcusable and steps must be taken to prevent events like this from becoming unsafe. 

While there was security at the festival, many attendees noted that there was not enough and that they were not properly trained in crowd management. Additionally, some experts pointed out that the guards weren’t dispersed within the crowd and not enough of them were near the front barricades.

The organizers of the concert created a landscape that was dangerous from the start. There was barely enough room for ambulances and police cars to navigate through the crowd. The barriers — which typically ensure that there are not too many people in a given area and provide space for people to move around if needed — were ineffective in space so tightly compact. The lack of organization shouldn’t have happened. Those in charge should have known that this event would be highly crowded and planned accordingly. 

Travis Scott should also be held responsible for this tragedy. His concerts are notorious for being violent and aggressive. A fan was allegedly pushed off a balcony at an overly crowded show in 2017 and became paralyzed. At this concert, Scott was also caught on video encouraging a different fan to jump from a second-floor balcony into the crowd. 

His shows are typically crowded and because of that, Travis Scott should have properly planned to ensure that the music festival was safe. Scott has even encouraged fans to sneak into previous concerts in a now-deleted tweet

No matter who is at fault for the injuries and deaths at the Astroworld Festival, someone needs to be held accountable for this tragedy. The producer of the festival had previously faced lawsuits for unsafe conditions at his concerts, yet he was still able to produce this one. Travis Scott has a history of encouraging unsafe behavior at his concerts, and it doesn’t seem like he’s taken any steps to correct it. 

Neither of these things should have been the case. Eight people — some of them young children — should not have lost their lives, and those at fault should be punished