Tragedy at Astroworld

Sofia Rodriguez couldn’t move. As the crowd pushed against her from every direction, she felt a stranger grab her arm. Keep your head up, keep breathing, he said. Raising herself onto the tips of her toes, Rodriguez lifted her chin to the sky and tried to inhale as much oxygen as she could. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone collapse onto the ground. All she could hear was screaming. 

“I was panicking, I was about to cry,” Rodriguez said. “I felt like I was in a straitjacket.” 

On Friday, November 5th, Rodriguez went to Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival with friends and fellow sophomores Tobe Anyanti and Erin Chang. It was their first Travis Scott concert, and most likely their last. 

“I think Astroworld’s just done for after what happened,” Chang said. “It has a really bad reputation now.” 

Because there were so many people at the festival – about 50,000 – concertgoers were crushed against each other and even trampled, leading to significant injuries. 

“It could have been a lot better if people had specific sections, but everyone just had to try their best to get as close [to the stage] as they wanted to,” Anyanti said. “It just made it really messy and people got hurt because of that.” 

In total, ten people ended up dying as a result of the crowd crush. The youngest victim was only nine years old. 

“Seeing the ages of the victims really makes you realize it could have been any of us,” Rodriguez said. 

Anyanti believes the behavior of the concertgoers contributed to the chaotic event.

 “People were throwing full cans of drinks at each other, kicking people,” Anyanti said. 

Some blame Scott for the lack of organization and safety, but Chang recognizes that the circumstances of the concert could have made it hard for Scott to fully grasp the severity of the situation as it unfolded. 

“Whenever people were like, ‘how did he not hear,’ I understand that he couldn’t hear because it was really loud everywhere,” Chang said. 

Although Chang doesn’t completely blame Scott, she finds it difficult to view him the same way after the concert. 

“I actually really did enjoy [Scott’s] music before, but now I really just can’t see it the same,” Chang said. “Obviously the music’s still the same, but whenever I hear his voice, I just think of that day.” 

On the Saturday after the concert, Scott posted a video on his Instagram story apologizing to his fans. 

“It sounded so ingenuine, in my opinion,” Rodriguez said. 

Anyanti thinks the filter that Scott used on the video made his message seem insincere. 

“The use of the black and white filter on the video just made it seem like it was all staged because you had to go through and swipe on a black and white filter to make it look sad or whatever,” Anyanti said. 

Rodriguez says she would be hesitant to go to a Travis Scott concert again. 

“You never imagine that you pay to go to this concert to go have fun and see your favorite artists and you end up dying,” Rodriguez said. 

For now, Rodriguez, Anyanti, and Chang are simply trying to recover from the concert and process everything that happened.

“We came to Astroworld thinking it was gonna be literally one of the best days of our lives,” Chang said. “It was actually a really scary, scary day.”