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Astroworld tragedy brings questions on concert safety

Recent deaths at the Astroworld concert makes students concerned for their safety at future concerts.

Travis Scott points the mic at the audience during a concert.

Travis Scott’s Astroworld music festival on Friday became deadly after crowds surged toward the stage leaving eight dead and dozens hospitalized. Some injured concertgoers are suing both Scott and Drake over the tragedy. The concert has sparked controversy and conversation around concert safety. At USC, concerts are just getting underway again because of COVID-19. One of the biggest concerts of the year at USC is coming up. Students are wondering whether they will be safe at future concerts.

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Students who are regular concert-goers have been particularly shaken up by Friday’s violent concert. It has made them question their safety at concerts moving forward. Cricket Gorey, a senior mechanical engineering major and songwriting minor, hopes this tragic event leads to more regulations to ensure concert-goer’s safety at these venues moving forward.

GOREY: So it is really tragic. And I think that it would be great if there was some guidelines or maybe regulations that came out of this, that kind of. Mandated, you know, sticking to your security at an event plan or having a certain number of aides on site or maybe having like an emergency access route.

As an avid-concert-goer, Gorey has experienced safety concerns before.

GOREY: Looking back on the security at some of the concerts I’ve been to, one in particular that sticks out to me was I went to see Brooke Hampton in December 2019 and people were passing out in the mosh pit like there was a lot of crowd pressure … I was me and my friend were luckily safe. But going forward, I definitely want to make sure that, you know, these venues have. It’s some sort of contingency plan in place.

And soon Conquest is coming up at USC, a hugely popular event, Gorey has been before and wonders about the safety there this year.

GOREY: I think at conquest. They can never get a little rowdy. I’ve definitely been to U.S. concerts that have gotten, you know, people will actually push each other or maybe British there on purpose. You know, you never really know. There’s just like a lot of young kids and not as much I say young kids, I’m I’m just a senior, but there’s a lot of like freshmen and sophomores who are really excited and they can get a little hectic sometimes.

Safety is also top of mind for Sophie Moser. She is co-director of the Concerts Committee - a student-run organization that puts on free concerts for USC students. The committee and Moser are prepping for Conquest.

MOSER: I think most of all, we’re just on high alert and understand that people are probably feeling a little bit emotional or nervous in general after seeing something like that. And so we’re definitely going to be just, like, monitoring things closely.

She is taught this in her classes at SC at Thornton School of Music, she’s majoring in the music industry.

MOSER: Concert safety is something that is really preached to us and we learn a lot about that. There’s one class in particular where we go through, like all of these old videos from old concerts and see what went wrong and learn how those things can be avoided.

She’s upset that she learns about safety in her classes, but the professionals who ran Travis Scott’s festival weren’t able to prevent the violence.

As tragic as Astroworld was, concerts continue even here on campus. Cricket Gorey will give Conquest another chance while careful. She won’t allow herself to be overcome by fear.

GOREY: I don’t think we should let it spoil our enjoyment of my music, I think we should just let it guide our choices sometimes and guide our preparation. I don’t think anyone should ever expect to go into something like that and to expect to not come out.