A petition calling for the removal of Travis Scott from the lineup of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which the rapper is set to headline in April, received hundreds of signatures as of Sunday afternoon in the wake of a crowd surge that resulted in eight deaths during Scott’s performance at a music festival in Houston.
The crush of concertgoers occurred Friday night at the sold-out 2021 Astroworld Festival at NRG Park, where an estimated 50,000 people gathered. Eight people between the ages of 14 and 27 died and another 300 were injured, according to Houston officials.
Videos posted to social media depicting the chaos in the crowd have led to widespread criticism of Scott and festival organizers for continuing the performance even as spectators shouted for the concert to be stopped and lifeless bodies were being pulled from the throng.
“I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night,” Scott wrote in a statement released Saturday afternoon. “My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival.”
The 30-year-old Houston rapper has a reputation for putting on raucous shows and has previously been arrested for onstage antics that incited wild behavior. In 2015, he was arrested after encouraging fans to rush past security barriers and join him onstage at the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago. He later pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge.
Two years later, he was accused of inciting a riot at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rodgers, Arkansas, after urging members of the crowd to rush the stage. Several people were injured, including a security guard and a police officer. Scott pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and he was ordered to pay court fees and restitution to two injured people.
Weeks later, a 23-year-old fan was partly paralyzed after allegedly being pushed from a third-story balcony during a performance by Scott in New York City. A lawsuit filed by the fan faulting Scott for his injuries is still pending in court.
Scott is scheduled to be the headliner on each of the Saturdays of the two-weekend Coachella festival, which is slated to run on April 15-17 and April 22-24. He previously performed at the festival in 2017.
A petition on Change.org started on Friday urged Paul Tollett, the co-founder of the festival, and promoter Goldenvoice, along with its parent company AEG, to drop Scott from all of its festivals “due to Scott’s own gross negligence and sheer lack of compassion for human life.”
Organizers for the Coachella festival did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Scott’s next scheduled festival appearance is set for Nov. 13 at the Day N Vegas festival in Las Vegas.
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