As the lawsuits against everyone involved with Houston’s Astroworld festival—during which multiple people were killed in a stampede incident—continue to roll in, founder Travis Scott (who is the target of many of those lawsuits) is clearly looking for a way to respond.
Yesterday, he posted a short video on Instagram that seemingly responded to critics who said that he could’ve stopped the show early when it became clear that something bad had happened in the crowd, with the rapper saying that it never occurred to him that it could’ve been as bad as it ended up being.
Today, Variety says that Scott has decided to give full refunds to anyone who bought tickets to Astroworld, which was cut short over the weekend after the deaths. A separate Variety story says that Scott has also promised to pay for the funeral costs of the people who died in the crowd surge (two of whom were minors) in addition to working with only therapy service BetterHelp to provide one-on-one counseling for anyone who signs up from a specific link.
This all comes as Houston Police Chief Troy Finner offers apparently contradictory statements about how dangerous Astroworld seemed. The New York Times says that he met with Scott ahead of the performance to discuss “concerns about the crowd,” with Houston law enforcement reportedly being worried about the potential for chaos given Scott’s reputation for riling up crowds—in addition to other ongoing issues, like the COVID pandemic.
Still, one of those Variety stories says Finner has defended the way things were handled, denying accusations that the festival was understaffed and saying that “the number of officers on hand should have been sufficient to handle a crowd of 50,000.” Finner also defended the controversial decision to keep the show going until its planned conclusion at 10:15, despite the fact that the crowd surge had turned deadly an hour before that. Variety says that he believes ending the show abruptly like that “could have caused a riot.”