Opinion | Artists must protect fans from chaos

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Photo courtesy of Suzanne Cordeiro/TNS

Travis Scott performs during the Astroworld concert in Houston in 2019. Columnist Axel Almanza believes that the audience’s safety at concerts should of up most priority for artists especially after the tragedies at Astroworld.

By Axel Almanza, Columnist

With the recent tragedy at Astroworld, countless are left heartbroken and confused as to how a concert could have devolved into chaos.

In a video obtained by KHOU11, the concert began with fans trampling through the gates and hurtling into the grounds — no injuries were reported at that time. However, with fans sprinting into the venue, headcounts to determine if a limit was reached became impossible.

In every entertainment venue, limits exist to protect crowd size and prevent what would later unfold at Astroworld. The rules should not be overtly announced because most times they’re common sense. Fortunately, in the video, you can see a few fans stopped by security, temporarily deescalating the impending tragedy. Yet, artists like Travis Scott and concert businesses like Live Nation must do more to protect fans and prevent shortcutting safety that costs lives.

An action Scott and management could have done was ask for security to confirm everybody’s ticket to see if they purchased one. Likewise, fans should have purchased tickets rather than rushing in for free. It’s unfair to the other fans who worked tirelessly and utilized their hard-earned money to attend the festival, all while freeloaders ran in. By checking tickets, the overload concern could have been handled with frantic fans — who rushed in for free — being escorted out.

Another element many don’t know is Travis Scott’s concerts are notoriously known for being “crazy.” In 2017, he demanded one of his fans jump off a balcony during one of his shows. In the aftermath, the fan, Kyle Green, sustained a fracture to his ankle and required a fusion. No artist should force a fan to do such a dangerous stunt at a concert when they wish to attend and witness their favorite artist. For an artist to coerce a fan like that, there should have been a moment of self-reflection that “this isn’t safe.”

There are a total of 10 deaths including a nine-year-old boy. The thought of somebody passing away at what was intended to be a celebration of culture and life is heartbreaking. Similarly, a nine-year-old is starting his life: ready to experience all life has to offer only for it to be taken by horrifying circumstances due to somebody’s negligence.

As fans, if we see somebody passing out due to exhaustion, it’s our responsibility to give them space to breathe and alert medical staff. If we sense tension, we must separate fans because tussling in a cramped space isn’t productive or fun.

In contrast, Scott and Astroworld sponsors like Live Nation ignored their duty to shield fans from disastrous conditions. Whereas fans come together and help one another during dire times, Scott played on while people perished beneath the stomping crowd.

We go to concerts to relax and appreciate those from our favorite YouTube videos or Spotify playlists. A concert should not be a death sentence because people couldn’t control the environment and allowed the show to go on amid the surrounding tragedy.

Axel is a sophomore in LAS.

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