Recent tragedies at the Astroworld Festival on November 5 have forced conversations about crowd control at concerts. How do you keep energetic crowds from getting out of control? Should production be responsible for the choices that led to injuries? And what should the music artist, in this case, Travis Scott, do if a fan gets hurt during the event?
As lawsuits emerge in relation to Astroworld, stories of music artists who successfully protected their fans are reentering the public consciousness.
Catastrophe at Astroworld Festival 2021
Tragedy struck on November 5, 2021, at the Astroworld Festival. Scott took to the stage when a huge crowd pushed toward the front row. People were compressed and unable to escape, resulting in the deaths of nine people, from ages 9 to 27. Over 300 people were injured and 20 were hospitalized.
The Washington Post reports that some concertgoers screamed, tried calling 911, and pled for the show to stop. Two concertgoers climbed onto the camera operator’s platform, begging for help. Scott stopped performing four times when he noticed people passing out near the stage. But he continued to perform as medics tried to navigate the crowd.
Live Nation, Scott, and Drake — the latter also took the stage when the surge occurred — are named as the defendants in no less than a dozen lawsuits related to the Astroworld incidents. Both Scott and Live Nation said they are cooperating with the investigation.
In contrast, the following bands and music artists took action to protect their fans.
CNN reports that, at a 2014 concert, members of the band Linkin Park saw that several people in the mosh pit fell. They stopped playing and waited until they knew the people involved were safe.
Mike Shinoda said, “We got to look out for safety first, for real. Nobody gets hurt. That’s number one.” Chester Bennington then explained, “We know we’ve been stressing all night about being cool, and this is the reason why.” He questioned the crowd: “Let’s go over it one more time: When someone falls, what do you do?” Linkin Park’s fans responded, “Pick them up.”
A clip from an Adele performance has resurfaced after the Astroworld event and has gained over 17.3 million views. As Yahoo reports, Adele was in the middle of the chorus to her hit song, “Rolling in the Deep,” when she saw a fan passed out.
She stopped singing abruptly and said, “Stop, stop, stop — someone’s fainted again. Excuse me, medic, right in the middle.” She addresses the medical team and says, “Can you see? Can someone act like they care, please? Someone’s fainted over there.” The medics were finally able to make it to the fan in question and offer aid.
Once she got a thumbs up from the medics, Adele started performing her song from the top.
Despite the nature of a metal concert, Slayer is known to follow rules and expect fans to do the same. At a concert in 2018, the thrash metal band paused their performance to instruct the crowd to clear the aisles in order to maintain safety standards.
The crowd was not happy and booed. Vocalist and bassist Tom Araya asked the audience to please cooperate. He said, “We live in a society of rules. But these rules are for your safety. They need to have cleared aisles so when something does happen, everybody has an exit, okay.”
In the wake of the Astroworld tragedy, a clip of Dave Grohl at a concert has circulated on Twitter. It shows Grohl noticing a child at the concert who needed a seat. It turns out that the child was blind and autistic. Grohl stopped performing and said, “Hold on one second. Does that kid need somewhere to sit?” He then offered for the child and parents to sit at the edge of the stage.
This past summer in Chicago, Playboi Carti had to stop his performance when organizers came onstage to tell him fans were passing out, as Twitter reports. Carti informed the crowd of what was going on. He said, “They’re telling me it’s a lot of people passing out. They keep stopping my music because people are passing out. I care about you guys’ safety first.”
After the events at Astroworld, a warning was given ahead of his most recent concert. He posted, “If you guys do not follow the rules if you guys jump over to the floor if you guys do anything that they consider dangerous, not one, not two, but just one person messing up, this show is over.”
In 2019, ASAP Rocky stopped his concert mid-set because he saw some people in the crowd falling, as a TikTok video details. He said, “Everybody back up, look. Watch out. Pick the girls up, bro. Pick the girls up!!” He continued with “What’s wrong with y’all?” ASAP Rocky kept yelling at the crowd until everyone was safe and aware of what was going on.
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