No more conspiracy theories; humans caused the deaths at Astrofest


Erika Goldring/WireImage

I remember my cousin Michael coming over, and he and my brother would watch countless hours of Conspiracy Theory. From secret societies to the quest to control water, you can find conspiracy theories throughout history.

There is actually some psychology regarding human evolution around them. In times of chaos, in particular, humans are wired to try to find a shortcut to decision making; we look for information that confirms our bias. For the most part, conspiracy theories have been harmless gossip and conjecture surrounding mysteries, but since the pandemic, they’ve just gotten ridiculous and dangerous: the government is injecting us with microchips in our vaccines, they are trying to change our DNA, COVID-19 was engineered by the media. But now, for our latest and one of the most offensive: Satan is responsible for the Astrofest deaths.

In full honesty, nobody knows if the devil was at Astroworld. What we do know, however, is that Travis Scott was there, his team was there, and everybody working the event was there that night.”

TikTok and social media are buzzing with the idea that the Astroworld deaths were caused by a demonic force. According to one source, “The stage was designed to look like a portal to Hell, the eight flames in the front represent the eight deaths that would take place…people have said the stage was shaped like an inverted cross…they also point to a shirt Scott wore at the show that depicts human figures walking through a door and emerging with what look like horns as further evidence that Scott was leading fans to Hell and sacrificing people’s lives intentionally” (Marks & Marks, 2021).

The demonic conspiracy plays directly into the many varied reasons people are attracted to conspiracy theories to begin with. First, we want to make sense of chaos. We want answers—answers help us feel safe. The mindset becomes if we live our lives and don’t attend Travis Scott concerts, we are at no risk of being harmed. If we play by our own “rules,” nothing will enter our world to harm us. On the other hand, if we do venture out to a Travis Scott concert, and if we see certain “symbols,” then this plays into our bias of what we are seeing. For example, if a walkway looks like an inverted cross, there must be a demonic reason for the catastrophe because it backs up our theory. I’ve been to many concerts with long runways and catwalks across them. Concert-goers pay big money for floor seats, so a long runway that comes to a crosswalk at the back end of the crowd is a great way for an entertainer to interact with all of those paying the up charge for seats on the floor. Sometimes the boring, simple explanation is the correct explanation.

I did not attend the Astroworld Festival, so obviously, everything I’m saying is based on things I’ve read or seen on social media, not a first-hand experience. Though I feel like without attendance at the event, it’s clear to see how the conspiracy theories have become disrespectful. Of course, everyone has the right to believe what they believe, but if I had lost a loved one at a concert and people were saying it was because Satan was present, I’d be pretty angry. In full honesty, nobody knows if the devil was at Astroworld. What we do know, however, is that Travis Scott was there, his team was there, and everybody working the event was there that night.

The bias to the “symbols” many point to become even more dangerous when conspiracy theorists bring the COVID-19 vaccine into it. “Other people have implied that Covid-19 vaccines — which have been shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective at preventing serious Covid infections — could be the cause of the deaths at the event. ‘Attendees needed to be fully [Vaxxed],’ one user Tweeted… Others suggested that the vaccine might respond to the sound of the live music at Scott’s show. ‘Jab plus 5g and frequency at concert = dead,’ commented one TikTok user” (Marks & Marks, 2021).

If you’ve seen videos from the Astroworld venue, there’s a lot of blame to go around. First off, Live Nation, who organized the event. Astroworld was one of the deadliest crowd-control disasters in a concert in U.S. history. The Houston Police and Fire Departments allege that there was little, if any, communication with them. Many people are saying that this is not Travis’ fault, but that overcrowding is the cause of the disaster. Overcrowding doesn’t just happen; someone is responsible for the fact that too many people were in a venue that could not support that number of people. Travis Scott could have stopped performing at any time. Entertainers have the ultimate power via the mic to put an end to the chaos. (This is not the first time Scott has been sued by fans who have attended his concerts and ended up paralyzed from the chaotic scene). There was a sea of people who were way too amped up and concerned about pushing for a position close to the stage and not aware of what was going on around them. To be fair, there were many spectators yelling for help.

Finally, I will leave the conspiracy theorists with this: John Hilgert was the 14-year-old killed at Astroworld. How many concerts do you think he was able to attend in his life? Take into consideration the year or so off for the pandemic. Now, he will never have the chance to attend another. How do you think his family and friends feel hearing that some believe his death was a ritualistic plan orchestrated by Scott conjuring up demons because Hilgert was one of the eight to be sacrificed to Satan that night.

Enough with the conspiracy theories. It’s crossed the line, and it clouds the fact that real people need to be held accountable for this devastating night.