In his first interview since the tragedy at his Astroworld music festival that left 10 people dead, Travis Scott said he only learned that people had died at the show minutes before he participated in an after show press conference, and he also denied saying he could hear any fans calling out asking him to stop the show.
Scott sat down with Charlamagne tha God in a nearly hour-long interview conversation posted to Charlamange’s YouTube on Thursday, and Scott said that while things can happen at concerts, he never expected something to the degree of the tragedy at the Nov. 5 show.
“Even after the show I didn’t know exactly what happened until minutes before the press conference, and even at that moment you’re like, ‘Wait, what?'” Scott told Charlamagne. “People pass out, things happen at concerts, but something like that?”
Scott was asked about reports that in between songs, fans tried to get his attention to stop the show, and he said between different music, monitors in his own ears and pyrotechnics that he didn’t hear calls for help of that nature. But he says as a performer he’s always feeding off the crowd and trying to respond to them.
“Any time you can hear something like that, you want to stop the show, you want to make sure fans get the proper attention they need,” he said. “I go off fans’ energy as a collective, it’s a call and response… I didn’t hear any of that.”
Scott’s shows have also had a reputation for their wild behavior, and many in the media have called attention to Scott’s lyrics or other past instances at his performances, including in 2015 when he pleaded guilty to reckless conduct for encouraging people at a Chicago summer concert to climb over barriers. To that end, Charlamagne asked about the culture of “raging.” But Scott said that even though he’s trying to create certain experiences at his shows, it should be in a safe environment with the trust in professionals that people will leave safely.
“People didn’t just show up there to be harmful. People showed up to have a good time and something unfortunate happened, and we really got to figure out what that was,” he said. “Raging, to have a textbook definition, in concerts, we’ve grown it to be just the experience of having fun. It’s not about harm. It’s not about that. It’s letting go and having fun, help others, love each other. It’s not about harm, that’s not what it’s all about. The show isn’t just rambunctious for an hour.”
Ten people have died and at least 25 more were hospitalized after the Nov. 5 Astroworld festival at Houston’s NRG Park, when a crowd surge during the headlining performance by Scott caused a stampede, resulting in more than 300 people injured. Among the dead were a 9-year-old, several teenagers and some people in their early 20s.
Scott has been the primary subject of multiple lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in damages from hundreds of victims and people who said they attended and were impacted by the incident at the concert.
In response to the interview, attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents one of the victims killed as Astroworld, said that “Travis Scott is not a victim” but that he is “the problem.”
“Does he really want us to believe that he is a victim? Travis Scott is not a victim. Axel Acosta and the many others killed or injured are the victims. Travis Scott, his entourage, handlers, promoters, managers, hangers on and everyone else who enable him are the problem,” Buzbee said in a statement. “Everything that Travis Scott has done or said since ten people died and hundreds of others were injured at his concert has been lawyer driven and calculated to shift blame from him to someone else. He now says he had an ear piece in, and was not told what was going on in the crowd. That raises the question: ‘Did he have an ear piece in his eye? Why did he purposely ignore the death and mayhem occurring literally feet from him?’
He continued: “Every time Travis Scott opens his mouth in an effort to avoid responsibility and accountability, he further exacerbates the pain of those that lost loved ones. Axel Acosta’s family doesn’t want to hear Travis Scott’s excuses; excuses do not assuage their grief and pain. Because he won’t voluntarily do so, we intend to force Travis Scott to accept responsibility for his conduct, in court, in front of a jury.”
Watch the full interview with Travis Scott above.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.