With 10 people dead — including a nine-year-old boy — and over 25 serious injuries, the crowd crush during Travis Scott’s set at Nov. 5’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas stands as one of the worst concert tragedies in history. The new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now takes an in-depth first look at the story.
Rolling Stone‘s Ethan Millman reports from Houston, and shares audio of a dramatic on-the-scene interview with a concert-goer who survived the crush. “I didn’t get the full idea of the tragedy,” says Millman, “until being there and just realizing how young everyone was. Someone told me they were going to buy a beer and the alcohol lines were really short. And he realized, ‘Oh, it’s because these are all kids who were at this thing.'”
There’s also a discussion with concert-safety expert Paul Wertheimer, who believes the only way to put an end to concert tragedies is to bring criminal charges against organizers. “When the concert industry gets a wake-up call,” he says, “they hit the snooze button every time.”
Finally, senior editor Jeff Ihaza weighs in on Scott’s history of wild, risky concerts, the complexities of his brand, the state of festival culture in the U.S., the rise of moshing and stage-diving at rap shows, how the Astroworld tragedy might change the course of music, and much more in a discussion with host Brian Hiatt. “I’m sure there’s a Ph.D. thesis to be written about all of the different layers of socio-political and cultural and racial shifts that are implied by the punk ethos being introduced to hip hop music,” Ihaza says.
Download and subscribe to our weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts), and check out three years’ worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth, career-spanning interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Halsey, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, the National, Ice Cube, Dua Lipa, Questlove, Killer Mike, Julian Casablancas, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Scott Weiland, Liam Gallagher, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Donald Fagen, Phil Collins, Justin Townes Earle, Stephen Malkmus, Sebastian Bach, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Kelly Clarkson, Pete Townshend, Bob Seger, the Zombies, Gary Clark Jr., and many others — plus dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions, debates, and explainers with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters. Tune in every Friday at 1 p.m. ET to hear Rolling Stone Music Now broadcast on SiriusXM’s Volume, channel 106.