Fact Checking: #AstroworldFestival

Following the unfortunate deaths of 10 individuals at the massively-attended Astroworld Festival, social media has caught fire attempting to unravel the issues that unfolded at the NRG Park event on November 5th. Hosted by Travis Scott in his hometown of Houston, Texas; the tragedy has caused conversation among members of ‘Rage culture’, the demographic that Scott’s shows are marketed towards.

The casualties at the concert - with approximately 50,000 individuals in attendance - has prompted heavy response across the nation. Various theories have been developed across social media, ranging from blatant irresponsibility from the showrunners to the event being an occultic sacrifice. With this in mind, the importance of fact-checking information couldn’t be more apparent, as the effects of misinformation can be problematic.

Amelyun Nguyen, a 17 year old TikToker, experienced the effects of said misinformation, with her death at the concert being falsely reported. This information startled Nguyen, who lives in Australia, and is not a fan of Travis Scott’s music. “I was honestly very confused and was wondering how people found my pictures” she expressed, after her family and friends were contacted over the false-claims.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, former Mayor of Baltimore and spokesperson for Scott, has provided clarity on the operation of the concert, and what Scott was - and wasn’t - in control of. She provided an in-depth perspective on this, saying “They have a 59-page operations plan, and it clearly says the only two people that have the authority to stop the concert, were the executive producer and the concert producer. He was not responsible for this, but he wants to be responsible for the solution.”

Rawlings-Blake found accusations that Scott intentionally ignored the casualties as “ludicrous” as reported to CBS Mornings. She further elaborated, “It was hours and hours after the concert when they actually found out the tragedy, how the tragedy unfolded. And he has not stopped grieving for these families. He knows that he is who he is because of his fans. His love for his fans is so deep.”

An investigation regarding the event is still ongoing, as Houston Police Chief Troy Finner spoke publicly on previous conversation between him and Travis Scott. “I had no reason to believe that it wasn’t going to be safe,” he explained. “But I’m the kind of chief that I meet with people whenever I can, and that includes him. We had a very respectful, few minute conversation on my concerns.”

It is still undecided as to what caused the mass casualties, though it is highly suggested by officials that oxygen deprivation during the crowd surge and alleged drug abuse is partially to blame. Scott has made arrangements to pay for the families’ funeral costs, as well as fully refunding concert-attendees.

The most significant and unquestionable fact in this tragedy is how the lives of the victims’ family and other attendees will forever be altered. The New York Time reports the identities of the deceased in detail. “Franco Patiño, 21, a senior at the University of Dayton in Ohio; John Hilgert, 14, a freshman at Memorial High School near Houston; Brianna Rodriguez, 16, a student at Heights High School in Houston; Rudy Peña of Laredo, Texas; Danish Baig, whose brother said he was trying to save a sister-in-law from being trampled; Jacob E. Jurinek, 20, a junior at Southern Illinois University Carbondale; Axel Acosta, 21, a junior at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash.; and Madison Dubiski, 23, who worked at a Houston-based advertising agency. Bharti Shahani, 22, died in a hospital nearly a week after becoming separated from her sister and cousin as the Astroworld festival turned chaotic. And on Nov. 14, Ezra Blount, 9, died”

It is hopeful that they will be remembered by their loved ones in peaceful memories.

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