Unless you've been in a cave all weekend (lucky you), chances are you heard about the tragedy that occurred in Houston on Friday night at Travis Scott's Astroworld Music Festival...
We went to bed on Friday to the awful news that somehow got even worse when awakening on Saturday.
Some reports were confirming as many as 11 dead, and 300 people transported to the hospital for injuries.
Yesterday there were a swirl of unsubstantiated rumors and claims from those in attendance, or friends of those there, of some really, really fucked up things taking place.
Without playing into the gossip or rumor spreading, I did my best to weed through what sounded legit, what sounded farcical and wait to see where some of the dust settles.
One thing that was not manufactured or fake news, that I mentioned in that first blog, and that the big J journalist outlets are now finally getting around to realizing, was that this was nothing new to the Cactus Jack and Astroworld brand.
The entire marketing plan is madness, hysteria, and chaos.
That's a fucking "recap highlight" video professionally produced and disseminated from them personally.
Then there's the NYC Terminal 5 show where a kid got paralyzed
And the Lollapalooza riot he incited (and got arrested for) in Chicago 2015 that I posted in the last blog.
Travis Scott took to Instagram to issue an apology on Saturday, say that he is fully cooperating with authorities, as well as praying for families of those struck by the tragic events.
Which is respectable and the right thing to do. It's just hard to commend when more and more videos and accounts poured out through the past two days, and they somehow continue to get worse and worse.
And when TMZ has reported that Houston's Police Chief went to Travis' trailer before the show to warn him about the raucous crowd.
The Houston Police Chief was so concerned about crowd control at the Astroworld Festival, he went to Travis Scott's trailer to express concern over the "energy in the crowd."
Police Chief Troy Finner said the "energy" in anticipation of the festival had been escalating for months … this according to the NY Times. The Chief attributed the energy to the pandemic, the fact that tickets went for hundreds of dollars and the event itself had a history of crowds that were difficult to control.
The Chief knew Travis personally and admired him for all the good work he did in Houston.
That said, it's clear the Chief was concerned about the swelling and anxious crowd.
The Chief may have gone to the trailer because some people who wanted to get in before the concert started knocking down barricades.
Sources connected to Travis tell TMZ … the Chief never told Travis to pull the plug on the show. Furthermore, the sources say Travis was never told the stop the show prior to 10:10 PM -- more than an hour after the show began -- via his in-ear device. The sources go on to say the fire marshal was also mum.
Although Travis says because of the pyrotechnics, strobe lights and all, he couldn't see the scope of the calamity.
Sadly, that's the least concerning of what's come to light.
I had people dm'ing me all day Saturday with stories of multiple people running around when Travis took the stage and sticking people with needles and running away.
At first I didn't put much stock into it.
1- because that's a nightmare scenario
2- because there was no proof or official reports of that
But as the messages and tweets kept coming, along with personal accounts of allegedly seeing people foam at the mouth and convulse on the ground it became scarier and scarier of a thought.
The Houston PD's Chief, Troy Finner, just confirmed what we'd been told … namely, that at least one person had been injected with something via needle -- and there well may have been more.
Chief Finner said a security guard working the event felt a prick in his neck by an unknown assailant while he was trying to restrain a citizen -- and he quickly fell unconscious. Finner says the guard was revived by use of NARCAN … and that medical personnel did, indeed, see something on his neck that indicated he'd been stabbed with a syringe.
The videos kept coming and got more and more disturbing.
What got really strange, and off-topic, were all the deep dives into the symbolism surrounding the festival, the stage setups, and the graphics on the video screens. Take these with a grain of salt.
What makes this video even more fucking weird than it is already, is I just did a blog on hip hop being heavily influenced/controlled by the Illuminati and was reminded by how bizarre some of Jay Z's older videos were. This is right out of that playbook.
There was A LOT of imagery from canto iv of Dante Alighieri (fun fact - poet I was named after, nbd)'s Divine Comedy.
When Dante observes the lost and unbaptized souls in limbo marching endlessly uphill-
When Dante and Virgil enter the gates of hell
I get "art" and all that. But why is this stuff at a hip-hop music festival?
Of course, there's the Kardashian link here too. Kylie Jenner, who's pregnant with Travis' second child, defended her man over the weekend.
She was getting dragged hard (rightfully so) for leaving her Instagram video up showcasing the carnage in the crowd from her safe spot backstage-
And of course, it didn't take long for the lawsuits to begin piling up-
Travis Scott, Drake, and Live Nation continue to have lawsuits pile up against them, with one Houston injury attorney just submitting 7 in the last hour for various clients, and famed attorney Ben Crump is also repping victims.
The docs, obtained by TMZ, are mostly identical -- filed by the Houston law firm of Roberts Markland LLP -- but switch out the petitioner name each time. Each lawsuit claims both Travis and Live Nation failed to provide adequate security and a security plan to protect attendees … and conditions at Astroworld Festival "caused several stampedes and a crowd compression" that led to the 8 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
The attorney behind these lawsuits -- Sean Roberts, doesn't list specific injuries for his clients, but says they were "seriously and permanently injured."
In the docs, Travis and LN are accused of failing to warn fans of safety risks and failing to provide appropriate medical staff at the event.
Of course, there will certainly be more lawsuits filed by concertgoers, and wrongful death litigation is expected as well. Attorney Ben Crump -- who repped the family of George Floyd -- has also stated he is representing Astroworld attendees.
Roberts is suing for negligence, and wants an unspecified amount in damages for each of his clients.
This whole thing is so sad. And so disappointing because of how avoidable and preventable this all should have been. A huge black eye for the entertainment industry that will hopefully have positive repercussions for decades to come.
Hopefully not just from a security and organizing perspective, but also along the lines of what IDK addressed his crowd with last night.