’Mayhem’: Travis Scott’s wild show antics

Sunday - 07/11/2021 09:58
​​​​​​​The deaths of fans at a Travis Scott festival has shocked the world, but it’s not the first time the rapper has been criticised over his rowdy shows.

When news broke that eight people were killed in a stampede at the Travis Scott festival Astroworld in Houston, Texas on Friday night, the world was shocked.

However it’s not the first time tragedy has struck at a Scott festival, with the rapper, whose real name is Jacques Webster, having been arrested at least twice over claims he encouraged fans to storm security barriers.

The artist is well-known for his rowdy concerts, and is even reported as having said in a since-deleted tweet “we will still be sneaking the wild ones in” when tickets to Astroworld sold out.

Scott even likened his live performances to professional wrestling when speaking with GQ back in 2015: “I always want to make it feel like it’s the WWF or some s**t. You know, raging and having fun and expressing good feelings is something I plan on doing and spreading across the globe.”

“We don’t like people who just stand,” he added. 

“This is a no-stand zone.”

Concertgoers at Travis Scott's Astroworld music festival tried to stop the show as the crowd crush began in Houston, Texas. Picture: Twitter.
Concertgoers at Travis Scott's Astroworld music festival tried to stop the show as the crowd crush began in Houston, Texas. Picture: Twitter.

For one fan, their life was changed forever during a show in New York City in 2017. Kyle Green, 23, said he was pushed from a third-storey balcony after Scott had allegedly encouraged fans on the second-storey balcony to jump down into the crowd.

“Don’t be scared,” Scott can allegedly be heard telling his fans in a video from the New York Times. “They’re going to catch you.” 

Scott then allegedly made things even worse by telling fans to drag a badly injured Green to the stage so he could place a ring on his finger as a “consolation prize”.

“I fell and hit the floor,” Green told the NY Post. “Before I knew it, I was surrounded by security guards, who scooped me up. 

“Travis Scott was yelling at his security guards to bring me to the stage.

“ … I was in a lot of pain. I just laid there, and finally, an ambulance came.’’

Green was left partially paralysed and needing a wheelchair after the incident, suffering fractured vertebrae, a broken left wrist and fractured right ankle. He sued the rapper, along with his manager, concert promoter and security company, alleging they engaged in “recklessness”.

His lawsuit claims the venue and security guards should have known that the rapper “had incited mayhem and chaos at prior events.” 

The case in ongoing.

American rapper Travis Scott. Picture: Sony Music
American rapper Travis Scott. Picture: Sony Music

Just weeks before Green was injured, the rapper had been arrested after being accused of inciting a riot during a show at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavillion in 2017, where he encouraged people to ignore security protocols and join him on stage. 

Several people were injured, including a security guard, ABC7 reported.

He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after striking a deal with prosecutors, reportedly in exchange for them dropping more serious charges.

He is known for his rowdy festivals. Picture: Sony Music.
He is known for his rowdy festivals. Picture: Sony Music.

And back in 2015, Scott had been charged with disorderly conduct during his Lollapalooza festival in Chicago. He allegedly encouraged fans to jump barriers and rush onto the stage during the packed show, defying festival security measures.

“Middle finger up to security right now!” Scott allegedly shouted into the microphone, according to a report by Rolling Stone.

Scott pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to one year of probation, the Associated Press reported at the time.


Scott ‘absolutely devastated’ about Astroworld incident

Scott – who was recorded at one point stopping his performance to ask for assistance to those struggling at the front of the crowd – has issued a statement sharing his heartbreak over Friday’s incident.

“I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night,” he said.

“My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at the Astroworld Festival.

“Houston PD (Police Department) has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life.

“I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need. Thank you to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their immediate response and support.

“Love you all.”

Scott has been criticised for seeming to fail to listen to warnings from some crown members, with videos showing people jumping onstage trying to stop the show only to be waved away by staff.

However, Houston Chronicle reporter Joey Guerra, who was at the festival, said it appeared that Scott’s vantage point may not have given him a clear view of what was happening.

He also said that Scott stopped the show to help the audience.

Guerra told the BBC: “Travis Scott himself did stop the show several times to point out people near the front who were in distress or needed help and he would get security to come and help them. 

“I don’t think he was aware of the extent of what was going on.

Concertgoers at Travis Scott's Astroworld music festival try to stop the show. Picture: Twitter
Concertgoers at Travis Scott's Astroworld music festival try to stop the show. Picture: Twitter

A police investigation has been launched with officials warning not to “buy into the rumours” sweeping social media.

“Nothing is off the table in terms of persons who were there, people who fainted, people who were transported,” Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said on Saturday.

“As far as a crowd surge, all of those things are being looked at. It’s way too early to draw any conclusions.”

But outraged spectators of the distressing footage emerging from Friday’s incident are demanding to know why action wasn’t taken sooner.

“Why didn’t they call for an ambulance when this is what was happening?” one asked person on TikTok.

“The show continued even though staff saw what was going on. This makes no sense,” another claimed.

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