Travis Scott has spoken out in his first interview following the Astroworld tragedy last month.
Ten people have died and hundreds of others were injured during a mass crowd surge during Scott’s performance on the opening night of the festival on November 5.
At the time of the tragedy, a section of the 50,000-strong crowd began rushing towards the stage during the rapper’s performance.
Festival-goers affected by the crowd surge struggled to breathe, with some losing consciousness, and, as a result, were trampled on by other attendees at the concert.
Sitting down with radio presenter Charlamagne Tha God, Scott said he didn’t know about the deaths until “minutes before the press conference” held by local police.
“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,” he said.
“It’s been a lot of thoughts, a lot of feelings, a lot of grieving,” the rapper went on. “Just trying to wrap my head around it. I really just want to be there. Wish you could just hold everyone, talk to them, have conversations.”
“It hurts,” he added. Charlamagne asked why the concert continued for another 40 minutes even after officials declared it a mass casualty event.
“They told me, right after the guests get on stage, we’re gonna end the show. And that’s what we did. Other than that, there was no communication,” Scott said.
“They didn’t say, ‘Stop now?'” Charlamagne Tha God asked, to which Scott replied: “No.”
Scott was then asked about “raging” culture at his shows prior to the concert, and whether it contributed to the crush.
“Nah, it’s something I’ve been working on for a while of just creating these experiences … as artists, we trust professionals to make sure that if things happen, people leave safely,” he said.
“In concerts, we’ve grown it to be an experience of having fun, not harm. It’s about letting go and having fun.”
Asked if he feels any responsibility over the festival tragedy, Scott admitted he does.
“I have a responsibility to figure out what happened here. I have a responsibility to figure out the solution,” he said. “Hopefully this takes the first step for us as artists, having more insight about what’s going on.”
Following the tragedy, Scott offered to pay for all of the victims’ funerals, but half of the grieving families rejected the gesture. The family of the youngest victim, nine-year-old Ezra Blount, was among those who declined the offer.
Speaking on those rejected offers, Scott said: “All things are understandable. At the time they’re grieving and trying to find understanding, they want answers. I’ve got to just continue to show up for that.”
He revealed he was able to speak with some of the families who lost loved ones at the concert and was “thankful” to even have those conversations.
He offered a message to the families of victims saying: “I’m always here. I’m in this with you guys and I love you. I’ll always be there to help you guys heal through this.
“It’s not just a right-now thing, it’s a forever thing. These people who came to the show, they are my family. I’ve always had that connection to people who listened to the music or came to my shows. And that’s why it’s really hard on me,” he continued.
“I just want to always be there for them,” he said, promising to be “a number one voice” for concert safety moving forward.
The 10 people who tragically lost their lives at the concert are between the ages of nine and 27: Mirza Baig, 27, Rodolfo Peña, 23, Madison Dubiski, 23, Bharti Shahani, 22, Franco Patino, 21, Axel Acosta Avila, 21, Jacob Jurinek, 20, Brianna Rodriguez, 16, John Hilgert, 14 and Ezra Blount, 9.
Our thoughts are with the victims’ loved ones at this difficult time.