On November 5th, tragedy struck at Astroworld festival when hundreds were injured and eight people were confirmed dead with several others in a coma, following crowd surge chaos at the live music event.
Since then, Travis Scott’s conduct has fallen under scrutiny with several other worrying incidents from the past seemingly serving as portents of potential problems occurring at his often-unruly gigs.
Since the incident, many commentators and those present at the gig have questioned whether he could have stopped the show sooner to avoid the crush. Now, Houston’s fire chief has joined the critics.
Speaking on NBC’s Today show, Chief Samuel Pena remarked: “It seems as though the crowd began to try to push towards the front to get as close to the stage as they could when Mr Scott’s set began.”
Adding: “And what was happening is the barricades that were placed in to prevent that surge towards the stage, in essence, caused other areas of pinch points. And as the crowd began to surge and push and compress towards the front, it was those people in the centre that began to get crushed and the injuries started to begin.”
Regarding the conduct of those present, Pena stated: Everybody at that event had a responsibility, starting from the artist on down. The artist has command of that crowd.”
Concluding: “In my opinion – and this is my opinion right now because everything is going to be fleshed out throughout this investigation – but certainly, the artist, if he notices something that’s going on, he can certainly pause that performance, turn on the lights and say, ‘Hey we’re not going to continue until this thing is resolved’.”
In recent days, several examples of other musicians stopping shows for the exact same reasons have come to light as examples of how the problem can be managed and issues can be mitigated.
The investigation continues and more news is expected in the coming weeks.