Travis Scott says he didn’t know a mass casualty event was unfolding as he performed at his Astroworld festival. Scott sat down with radio host Charlamagne Tha God for his first interview since 10 people died at the event on November 5.
“I didn’t even know the exact detail until minutes before the press conference,” Scott said. “At that moment, you’re kinda just like, what? You just went through something and it’s like, what? The thing Is — people pass out. Things happen at concerts. But something like that?”
As Scott performed, hundreds were injured and 10 people were killed in a crowd surge at the festival, authorities said. Scott and the festival’s organizer, LiveNation, face dozens of lawsuits in connection with the tragedy.
Scott said organizers told him through his earpiece they were going to stop the show after the guest finished his set but did not tell him why they were stopping. “They just told me that right after the guest gets off stage, you know, we’re gonna end the show,” Scott said. “And that’s what we did. Now, other than that, there was no other communication.”
What did Scott know and when?
Scott says he was not aware of the incident unfolding in the crowd as he performed. He described what he remembers when he was on stage that night. “Everything kind of just sounds the same,” Scott said.
Scott said police came to his trailer before his performance and told his team about a prior incident at a merchandise booth but said it had been resolved.
“The police, he came into my trailer and he congratulated me on the event and having something like this in Houston. He let me know that there was a mishap at the merch booth earlier. They shut it down but they opened it back up. It seemed like it was under control,” he said. “He was gonna step out and let us know if he need anything and told us to have a good show.”
Scott also said he did everything he could while on stage. “Everything I physically — sure, yes,” he said. “You just wish you could have done something better. But, standing there, 1,000%.”
Does Scott feel responsible?
When asked if he was responsible for the concert, Scott said he was only in charge of the creative aspects of the festival but left all other details “to the professionals” — referring to the event’s organizer, LiveNation.
Scott, however, said he feels responsible to make sure fans stay safe at future performances.
“I have a responsibility to figure out what happened here,” Scott added. “I have a responsibility to find a solution. Hopefully, this takes a first step into us as artists having more insight as to what’s going on.”
Did Scott’s music play a contributing role in the tragedy?
In a civil suit against Scott, plaintiffs argued that Scott’s music had “incited mayhem and chaos at prior events” and Scott and other organizers incited “a riot” by encouraging concertgoers to rage.
Scott said he doesn’t believe his music was responsible for the injuries.
“Raging — it doesn’t have a textbook definition, but in concerts, we’ve grown it to be about just the experience of having fun,” Scott added, pushing back against the question that raging could make it harder to identify danger in the crowd. “It’s not about, just, harm. It’s not about that. It’s about letting go and having fun. Help others, you know, love each other.”
His reaction to families denying his request to cover funeral expenses
Scott has since pledged to cover the funeral expenses of every life lost at Astroworld. Many families have rejected the offer but Scott called it “understandable.”
“They’re grieving and they’re trying to find understanding. They want answers and it’s not about that. I’m always going to be here to want to help them,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure they knew that I was there.”
Scott said he has had personal conversations with victims and their families but does not want to talk about them to respect their privacy.
“I’ve been on different types of emotions, an emotional rollercoaster, I mean,” Scott said. “It gets so hard because, you know, I always feel connected with my fans. I went through something and I feel like fans went through something and people’s parents went through something. And it really hurts. It hurts the community, it hurts the city. There’s been a lot of thoughts, a lot of feelings, a lot of grieving, and just trying to wrap my head around it.”