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In his first extensive sit-down interview since the Astroworld tragedy, Travis Scott says he wasn’t aware of the events that were unfolding while he was on stage on the night of Nov. 5 and didn’t learn of the scale of the deaths and injuries until after the show.
During the 50-minute talk with Charlamagne tha God, which dropped on the Breakfast Club host’s YouTube channel Thursday, Charlamagne asked Scott what he knew and when about the crowd crush at the Houston concert that ultimately left 10 people dead and many more injured.
“I didn’t know the exact details until minutes before the press conference [after the concert],” Scott said. “And even at that moment, you’re kind of like, ‘Wait, what?'”
“People pass out, things happen at concerts, but something like that…” he added before trailing off.
When Charlamagne asked if he heard people shouting “help” whenever he stopped performing, Scott said he didn’t hear any of those screams.
“Any time you can hear something like that too, you want to stop the show, you want to make sure fans get the proper attention they need and anytime I could see anything like that, I did,” Scott said. “I stopped a couple times to make sure everybody was OK. And I really just go off of the fans’ energy as a collective call-and-response … I just didn’t hear that.”
He explained the large crowd, lights, pyrotechnics, the music and his band made it hard for him to see exactly what was happening in the audience.
“You can only help what you see and whatever you’re told,” Scott said.
And he indicated he didn’t hear anything earlier that would’ve made him stop the show immediately.
“If it’s something detrimental, someone’s going to let you know or the show’s just going to stop and that just wasn’t the case,” Scott said. “You have a call and response to the fans. You try to generally get a response. but if you don’t get a hard stop, you just go off of what’s going on.”
In terms of any communication Scott received from security about what was happening in the crowd during his set, he said that he was simply told that, as Scott put it, “once the guests get off the stage, we’re going to end the show and that’s what they did. Other than that, there was no other communication. There was no communication on why. That’s what came through my ears.”
When asked if they said to “stop now,” Scott said, “no, no, no.”
As to whether Scott knew of any crowd injuries before performing, Scott said he didn’t and that a police officer came to his trailer and congratulated him on the event and having something like that in Houston.
“He let me know there was a mishap at the merch booth earlier,” Scott said of his interaction with the officer. “They shut it down and seemed to get it back under control. He was going to step out and just let us know if we needed anything, have a good show.”
And when he posted a video to his Instagram account shortly after the concert, Scott said he only knew then “that people passed” and he just wanted to speak to his fans.
“You just don’t know what’s going on,” Scott said of his initial video message. “But at the end of the day I just wanted to get something out … I can only go off of what I know but my true intentions of it were, really just trying to get the message across, but I really just wanted to get in touch with the fans, the families that we’re here, we’re grieving and we’ll get through this process. … At that time we just knew that people passed. We didn’t know how … you’re just going off of what you’re seeing in the news. You don’t really know nothing, and then as it starts going, you start collecting more information.”
Charlamagne asked Scott about the culture of “raging” at his shows, something that has come under increased scrutiny since the tragedy, and whether that was to blame for what happened.
“That’s something I’ve been working on for a while is creating these experiences and trying to show these experiences happening in a safe environment,” Scott responded. “As artists, we trust professionals that if things happen that people can leave safely. And this night was just like a regular show, it felt like to me, as far as the energy. It didn’t feel like, you know …people didn’t show up there to just to be harmful. People showed up to just have a good time, and something unfortunate happened and I think we really just gotta figure out what that was.”
He added, “‘Raging’ [doesn’t have] a textbook definition. But we’ve grown it in concerts to be just an experience of having fun. It’s not about harm. It’s not about that. It’s about just letting go and having fun, help others, you know, love each other. … The show isn’t just rambunctious for an hour, you know. That’s not what it is.”
Scott was asked what he’d tell families of those who lost loved ones at the event.
“I’d say to them that I’m always here, and that I’m in this with you guys and I love you and I’ll always be there to help you heal through this,” Scott said. “I understand what they’re going through. They’re grieving right now. And it’s not just a right now thing. It’s a forever thing. And these people that came to the show, they are my family and I’ve always had that connection to the people.”
Scott went on to indicate that he hopes people can prevent things like this from happening in the future.
“I want to see people really figure this out, not take this lightly and really act on it,” Scott said. “They’ve got to act on it and it can’t just be like something that happens and they just roll over. It’s got to be something that’s taken serious and address seriously.”
He added, in terms of his responsibilities as an artist, “I just control what I can on the stage and have the professionals control what they can in the crowd. As an artist, you want to have the best shows and you want to have the best experiences and you link with professionals to handle that side of it and you want to know what’s going on, and that’s what I think we’ve got to figure out. Figure out what happened there, how that happened.”
Since the tragedy, numerous lawsuits have been filed on behalf of concertgoers against Scott, organizer Live Nation and other entities involved with the festival. Authorities are still investigating the deadly incident.
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