Travis Scott’s spokesperson said Friday the rapper didn’t have the authority to stop his performance during the Astroworld Festival, as Houston police, fire officials, and Scott trade blame over who was responsible for stopping the concert as it turned deadly.
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, former Baltimore mayor and Scott’s spokesperson, told CBS in an interview the idea that Scott could have stopped the Astroworld Festival was “ludicrous.”
She cited a 59-page operations plan for the event that says the only two people who have the authority to stop the concert are the executive producer and the concert producer.
“He wants to be responsible for the solution,” Rawlings-Blake said, adding the rapper is looking into ways to prevent something like this from happening again.
The operations document given to Live Nation did not have an emergency plan in place to deal a dangerous crowd surge—despite surges happening at Astroworld in 2019—and only warned that a “civil disturbance/riot” was possible and should be avoided, but did not explain how to do so, according to NPR.
Rawlings-Blake also addressed reports that Scott attended an after-party at the restaurant Dave and Buster’s, saying he was there to “regroup” with his team and was not aware that a tragedy had occurred until “hours and hours” after the concert.
She said it was Scott’s own team that notified him about the unfolding tragedy that left nine people dead, adding he has “not stopped grieving for these families.”
The comments come amid public outcry over the safety of the event and questions about who is responsible, with Houston police and fire officials saying Scott or the production team should have shut the performance down.
Live Nation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said he personally warned Scott prior to the event about concerns regarding the energy of the crowd in a press conference Wednesday. Finner also said the Houston Police Department told “those in charge” during the show to “shut down the concert” because the department didn’t have the authority to do so. Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pe?a told NBC News Tuesday Scott could have stopped the show once he realized members of the crowd were in danger. “The artist, if he notices something that's going on, he can certainly pause that performance, turn on the lights and say, ‘Hey, we're not going to continue until this thing is resolved,’” Pe?a said. Scott did pause the show at least once throughout his set, but continued the performance afterwards.
Nine people have died following the crowd surge at Scott’s highly-anticipated hometown festival, ranging in ages from 14 to 27. A “mass casualty incident” was declared shortly after Scott started his performance, leading to cardiac arrests and other trauma. A number of fans who attended the concert and survived have filed lawsuits against Scott, Drake, a rapper who was featured in Scott’s performance, concert promoter Live Nation and the festival venue, Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation, among others involved in the event. Scott vowed to pay for all funeral expenses for the families involved, and said in a statement he was supporting Houston Police with the investigation.
Astroworld Death Toll Rises To Nine (Forbes)