Are Portland Music Venues Safe?


Eagles at the Moda Center.

Austin Sousa

The death toll from Travis Scott’s 2021 Astroworld Festival has risen to 10 people, with well over 300 reporting injuries from the event. The concert is now the 4th deadliest concert in U.S history, with a variety of factors including a surge toward the stage and an inability for medics to reach concertgoers attributing to the catastrophe. Scott was reported to have been unaware of the emergency situation, and unable to end the concert if he wanted to, as the Executive Director is believed to have been the only one with that power.  

Scott is no stranger to rowdy concerts, having pleaded guilty twice in the past to inciting chaos while performing. Similarly, through tweets that have now been deleted, he frequently referenced and encouraged his fans to break into the concert, seemingly pushing past the capacity limits for specific venues, something that clearly contributed to the disaster. Until now, the “rage culture” that Scott wheeled had gone unchecked regarding the obvious danger it promotes, but in hindsight, its issues are apparent; a way of concert-going that disables the ability to freely move and jam-packs as many people as possible into a tiny area. 

With Portland being a major music hub, concerns have been voiced over whether larger venues such as the Moda Center and Roseland theatre are prepared in case of possible emergency situations similar to Astroworld. While all large arenas and theatres can be vulnerable to emergencies and stampedes, outdoor festivals are much more likely to fail in ensuring patron safety, due to the overcrowding and lack of emergency exits. Because of this, Portland venues are much less susceptible to dangerous action, with most of the larger concerts being indoors.

Since the festival, Scott has released an apology video via Instagram ensuring followers that he is in contact with the families and fully cooperating with Houston PD in their investigation—He 

has also said that he will be paying for the funeral costs of the lives lost at the event. The apology has since been met with backlash, with many pointing out the odd nature of his movements and others claiming that he is reading from a script. Due to the nature of the situation and the multiple lawsuits pointed towards the festival, more information is sure to be revealed as the investigation unfolds.