Emergency Services

Photo courtesy of RODNAE Productions from Pexels.

In the rapid-fire world of social media, jumping to conclusions as a collective is something that we see quite a bit of. Mixed with the unequivocally dystopian nature of the past 18 months, no theory, accusation or claim is too far-fetched to be at least marginally believable. This phenomenon has been brought to the forefront by the tragic events and discourse surrounding Astroworld Fest 2021, which left hundreds injured and 10 dead at the time of this article's writing.

As the news surrounding the festival slowly began to surface, speculation as to what really occurred began to spread like wildfire on various social media platforms.

"There are several accounts that claim the local news in #Houston is LYING. It's not just '8' it's close to hundreds,” reads an Instagram post published the day after the festival.

TikTok took things in a different direction, with multiple creators claiming that the festival doubled as a satanic ritual and the deceased acting as sacrifices.

Finally, countless posts pinned the responsibility on the festival’s host, Travis Scott, who was performing at the time of the reported crowd surge which led to the injuries and deaths.

Sadly for Scott, he’s been the recipient of the bulk of the criticism of the tragedy, although he had next to no control of the situation.

Many claim that Scott neglected a moral responsibility to stop the show after seeing a fan pass out. This claim would be plausible, if Scott actually had the ability to stop the show.

“This notion that Travis had the ability to stop theconcert is ludicrous,” former Baltimore Mayor and spokesperson for Scott Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in an interview on CBS Mornings. "They have a 59- page operations plan, and it clearly says the only two people that have the authority to stop the concert were the executive producer and the concert producer... [Travis] was not responsible for this, but he wants to be responsible for the solution.”

That executive producer and concert producer Scott’s attorney is referring to is the multibillion dollar conglomerate Live Nation. Live Nation is the world’s largest events company and one that happens to be at the center of tragedies like this quite often.

The company has been linked to over 200 deaths and 750 injuries at its events since 2006, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle. Live Nation has been cited for a plethora of safety violations in the past, paying out hundreds of millions in settlements over the past 10 years.

Another failure of the event was the clearly understaffed security, which would also happen to fall on the shoulders of Live Nation. Several videos were shared of thousands of people breaking into the festival, as security watched idly by.

Speaking of security, the Houston Police Department has been outspoken in its criticism of Scott and his team. Chief of the department Troy Finner initially defended his decision not to shut down the festival. The next day, Finner ripped Scott for making the same decision (although Finner had the authority to shut the event down and Scott did not). Additionally, HPD has failed to explain various videos of their officers seemingly unaware of the tragedies occurring in front of them.

From an unbothered conglomerate to a police department more interested in shifting blame than taking accountability, Astroworld Festival was clearly doomed no matter what Scott did. Rest in peace to those who lost their lives.

Luke Modugno is an arts & entertainment editor. Follow him on Twitter: @lmodugno5.