Travis Scott says 'I always think about' Astroworld deaths, two years after tragedy

Travis Scott is still reeling from his 2021 Astrowold Festival in Houston, where a deadly crowd crush claimed 10 lives and injured hundreds of fans.

Two years after the tragedy, the “Sicko Mode” rapper said, “I always think about it.” He opened up about his experience processing the disaster and how it influenced the latest chapter of his music in an interview with GQ published Wednesday.

“Those fans were like my family. You know, I love my fans to the utmost,” he told the magazine.

The deadly crowd-crush occurred on Nov. 5, 2021, the first day of Scott’s two-day Astroworld Festival held at Houston’s NRG Park. Officials estimated that 50,000 people were in the crowd. Fans flowed toward the stage to see the rapper perform, then things went wrong. The concert was declared a mass casualty event at 9:38 p.m., but continued until 10:15 p.m.

Officials previously announced that all 10 people — the youngest of whom was 9 — died of compression asphyxia due to pressures from the surrounding crowd.

A month after the tragedy, the “Utopia” rapper said in a one-on-one interview with Charlamagne Tha God that he did not hear the cries to stop the show. He told GQ he was “overly devastated” by the tragedy and that new music gave him solace. He said returning to his new album “was therapeutic.”

On July 28, Scott released “Utopia,” a 19-track follow-up to 2018’s “Astroworld.” In the fourth track, “My Eyes,” Scott seemingly reflects on the disaster: “They just knew what Scotty would do to jump off the stage and save him a child.”

Since the Houston incident, Scott has gradually worked to return to live performances. A performance at 2022 Rolling Loud marked his comeback, then in October he launched his Circus Maximus tour. He took the stage at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium on Nov. 5, exactly two years after Astroworld.

Still, Scott told GQ he has “moments where it gets rough” when he thinks of the 10 victims and their families. In June, a Houston grand jury decided that the rapper, who shares two young children with ex-girlfriend and makeup mogul Kylie Jenner, would not face criminal charges for the Astroworld deaths.

“Travis Scott has been inaccurately and wrongly singled out, despite stopping the show three separate times and being unaware of the events as they were unfolding,” a representative for the rapper said in a June statement. “Now that this chapter is closed, we hope for the government efforts to focus on what is most important — stopping future heartbreaking tragedies like AstroWorld from ever occurring again.”

A representative for Kherkher Garcia, a Houston-based firm that represented hundreds of Astroworld attendees in civil lawsuits, told The Times in June that it was “incredibly disappointed” by the decision.

Scott told GQ that after the Astroworld deaths, he wants listeners to know, “I have pain too.”

He added: “Every day I want to find change in the things, to make things better, make myself better. It’s just like: I go through things like everyone else. And even recently through something like I never could imagine.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Scott reflected on the creation of “Utopia,” revealed his plans to attend Harvard for architecture and unveiled his Broadway ambitions.

Times staff writer Kenan Draughorne contributed to this report.

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