Travis Scott ‘didn’t hear’ screams during Astroworld set: ‘It’s like a sea to you’
Travis Scott says he had no idea what was happening in the crowd at his deadly Astroworld Festival in Houston last month, and he was told only that the show would be stopped after guest Drake had left the stage.
The rapper sat down for a one-on-one interview with Charlamagne Tha God — his first since the deaths of 10 people after a crowd crush during his headlining set Nov. 5. Their conversation was posted Thursday on the radio personality’s YouTube channel.
“It’s like a sea to you,” Scott said of the crowd of 50,000 people in front of him that night. “You got lights, you got sound, you got pyro, you got your in-ears [audio monitors] ... you got your mic, you got your music, you got your band.” He said he typically relies on “fans’ energy as a collective, call and response, and I just didn’t hear that.”
“Everything kinda just sounds the same,” he told Charlamagne, a co-host of “The Breakfast Club” syndicated radio show. Scott said he heard none of the cries to stop the show and help those who had been swept up in the crush.
A day after the funeral for 9-year-old Astroworld victim Ezra Blount, rapper Travis Scott offered to cover the costs. Blount’s family declined his offer.
The only thing he was told during the set, he said, was “right after the guests get offstage, we’re going to end the show. But it wasn’t communication on why. That’s what came to my [in-ear monitors].”
That night, after a crowd-control problem earlier in the evening at the merchandise tent, Houston police declared a “mass casualty event” about 30 minutes into Scott’s set when crowds surged toward the stage. The rapper performed for 40 more minutes, and said in the new interview that he didn’t know people had died until moments before a press conference.
Scott said in an Instagram video posted the next day, “I could never imagine the severity of the situation.”
Authorities continue to investigate the deadly crowd surge at the Astroworld Festival as lawsuits against Travis Scott and Live Nation pile up.
Charlamagne asked Scott what he would say directly to those who lost loved ones. Growing emotional, Scott replied that he’d want them to know they were all part of his family, and that he would be there to help them heal through their grief. Also, he committed to finding a solution to guarantee this kind of tragedy doesn’t happen in the future.
“I feel like that’s what we gotta figure out. ... Other than that,” he said with an incredulous look in his eyes, “the show goes on tomorrow.”
People familiar with the business need to “really figure this out. Not take this lightly, you know? And really act on it,” Scott said. “And that’s one of the main things that’s important; I feel like they gotta just act on it. It can’t be, like, something that just happens and it just roll over. It’s got to be something that’s taken serious, and addressed seriously.”
Negative social-media posts made it clear: Hulu viewers thought a local ABC station’s news special was a documentary quickly produced by the streamer.
Scott is facing at least a dozen big-money lawsuits from those who lost loved ones at the show.
Drake, promoters LiveNation and Scoremore, livestreamer Apple, multiple contracted security companies and the contracted medical services provider also are named in the various lawsuits. At least one law firm is soliciting members for a class action suit, looking for people who were injured or the families of people who died.
“This was preventable. The crowd was allowed to get too dense and was not managed properly,” a concert safety consultant, Paul Wertheimer, told The Times the day after the tragedy. “The fans were the victims of an environment in which they could not control.”
Scott, meanwhile, said he had managed to speak with some of the families of people who died but said he wanted to keep those conversations private. Several families of the victims, however, have refused his offers to pay funeral expenses.
It's a date
Get our L.A. Goes Out newsletter, with the week's best events, to help you explore and experience our city.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.