Venues Must Prioritize Safety at Concerts

On November 5, the first day of Travis Scott’s music festival named Astroworld, a horrifying tragedy struck, leaving ten dead, hundreds injured, and many more traumatized. Fifty thousand devoted fans gathered in Houston, Texas, to see Scott and other musicians perform. The concert had been postponed due to COVID-19, so fans were incredibly excited to see Scott, their hometown hero. Their celebration turned to disaster as overcrowding and poor planning led to one of the worst tragedies in music history. Hundreds had rushed the gates, there was a shortage of merchandise that upset many fans, the venue was past capacity, and there was an overzealous energy in the crowd. Though the chief of police met with Scott in his dressing room before the concert to express his safety concerns, the day ended with 10 dead and many more injured.

Although the level of the tragedy at Astroworld was unique, present day concert environments are intense and often dangerous. It is evident that the concert industry values profit over people’s safety. This hazardous way of managing concerts impacts the overall environment and sets a standard of a violent stampede. Although all shows have security to help break up the rush, most securities protect the artist, not the people. Concerts are built to take your money, not to protect the audience.

The safety protocols that concert organizers and venues uphold are lazy. People are getting hurt, and when lives are at stake, it becomes undeniably clear that things need to change. Astroworld was not the first tragic concert; there have been so many more warning signs. For example, in 1979, at a concert for the rock band The Who, 11 died due to an aggressive stampede. Eight people died at the Pearl Jam at Roskilde music festival in 2000 due to suffocation. At the Love Parade techno music festival in 2010, 21 people were killed by another stampede. Even with these concert disasters, the industry has never put in a significant effort to prioritize safety. As consumers, we must not ignore this lack of action. It’s possible to find a solution where concerts can be safe and fun. 

Frequent concert attendees know that creating a higher level of safety must be accomplished without compromising the fun components of concert going. One idea is that less security would be devoted to the VIP section. It is understandable that VIP members want to pay extra for better seats, security, and overall experience. However, the fact that guaranteed safety at concerts is purchasable exemplifies how immoral this whole system is. All concert goers should be guaranteed equal protection, regardless of how much they are able to pay. 

At large, concert safety is an apparent issue that needs to be addressed. Consumers, organizers, and artists need to find a happy medium where safety and a good time can be balanced.

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