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Travis Scott lays blame on production staff in first interview since Astroworld disaster

Mourners stand facing a chain link fence turned makeshift memorial at NRG Park in Houston.
Lucio Vasquez
Houston Public Media
Mourners stand outside a makeshift memorial at NRG Park, where on Friday eight people were killed when the crowd at the Astroworld Festival rushed toward the stage for rapper Travis Scott’s set.

Houston rapper Travis Scott is casting blame for the Astroworld crowd surge last month on production staff who organized and produced the show that led to 10 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

In his first interview since the Nov. 5 disaster, Scott denied that any of his actions during his performance may have contributed to the tragedy.

“As artists, we just leave this up to the professionals to make sure that the fans are having a good time and everyone’s protected,” he said during the interview with television and radio talk show host Charlamagne Tha God.

Scott stressed there’s still not enough information available to understand exactly what happened and who ultimately bears responsibility. He did not specifically point the finger at the concert’s promoter, Live Nation, or any other entity involved with the festival.

“If it’s something detrimental [happening in the crowd], somebody’s going to let you know. Or, you know, the show will just stop,” he explained about his expectations for the concert, which continued for nearly 40 minutes after the Houston Police Department declared it a mass casualty event.

Scott also denied knowing until after the show ended that anyone had died. He said he found out just before police held a post-concert news conference.

“Yeah, it wasn’t really until like minutes until the press conference until I figured out exactly what happened,” he said. “Even after the show you’re kind of hearing things. But I didn’t know the exact details until minutes before the press conference.”

During the interview, Scott expressed concern for the victims’ loved ones, calling them “family.”

“I’ve always had a connection to the people that listen to the music or came to my shows. And it’s really hard on me. They lost their loved ones. So it’s tough.”

Scott is named among several defendants in hundreds of lawsuits brought by audience members and relatives of those who died. A judicial board in Harris County on Tuesday agreed to consolidate the cases under a single judge.

An investigation into what caused the disaster and who bears responsibility is ongoing.

Joseph Leahy anchors morning newscasts for NPR's statewide public radio collaborative, Texas Newsroom. He began his career in broadcast journalism as a reporter for St. Louis Public Radio in 2011. The following year, he helped launch Delaware's first NPR station, WDDE, as an afternoon newscaster and host. Leahy returned to St. Louis in 2013 to anchor local newscasts during All Things Considered and produce news on local and regional issues. In 2016, he took on a similar role as the local Morning Edition newscaster at KUT in Austin, before moving over to the Texas Newsroom.