The organizers for the When We Were Young (WWWY) festival had everyone hyped, but some speculate that hyping the event may be just exactly what they wanted.
Amid all the excitement online, some fans managed to take a step back from the overwhelming nostalgia of the show’s lineup and realized that Live Nation Entertainment, the company behind Astroworld, is also organizing this upcoming concert of dreams.
What happened in Astroworld
Astroworld is the American rapper Travis Scott’s annual music festival based on his third studio album of the same name. It was first held in November 2018, three months after the album’s release. Scott’s first Billboard Hot 100 number one single, “Sicko Mode” (featuring Drake) was among the tracks in this album, but even that achievement pales in comparison to what he achieved two years later: he became the first-ever artist to have three Billboard Hot 100 number one songs in under a year with “Highest In The Room” (October 2019), “The Scotts” (May 2020), and “Franchise” (September 2020).
Despite the 2020 Astroworld Festival being cancelled due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, Scott’s career continued to skyrocket. When the festival returned in November 2021, fans were more than eager to see him back on stage.
The elation became a double-edged sword, however, when a crowd rush incident occurred mid-concert, killing 10 people, leading 11 into cardiac arrest, and injuring approximately 300.
It took less than 25 minutes for the crowd surge to be declared a mass casualty event, but Scott’s show ended around a full hour later, raising questions about whether Scott or Live Nation took appropriate measures to quell the commotion.
On December 9, Scott said in a YouTube interview that he was “initially unaware” of the incident “until minutes before the press conference” after his set.
In the same month, the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform sent a letter to Live Nation Chief Executive Officer Michael Rapino about an investigation, saying: “Recent reports raise serious concerns about whether your company took adequate steps to ensure the safety of the 50,000 concertgoers who attended Astroworld Festival.”
As of writing, the investigation on the Astroworld incident is still ongoing, but the latest on Scott is that he made his first public appearance this year on January 17 at the SoFi stadium for the Los Angeles Rams football game – a day before Live Nation announced the lineup for the WWWY festival.
How it relates to the WWWY festival
If a single artist’s show could lead to something like Astroworld, think of the exhilaration that more than 65 acts in the WWWY lineup could bring. Add the fact that a lot of these bands and artists that have been on hiatus, may have eager fans, and lots of them.
Then, the thought that Astroworld’s organizers will also be handling it. At this point, it’s hard to say that people are only trying to spoil the fun for this dream concert, as they do have plenty to show as to why their apprehensions are valid.
Live Nation said in a statement, “We are assisting local authorities in their investigation and will of course share information with the Committee as well. Safety is core to live events and Live Nation engages in detailed security planning in coordination with local stakeholders including law enforcement, fire and EMT professionals. We are heartbroken by the events at Astroworld and our deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of the victims.”
Regardless, it remains difficult for a lot of people to trust Live Nation Entertainment to handle WWWY, but on the other hand, the extreme nostalgia brought by their lineup might just be enough motivation for some to still attend the show. For now, fans and Astroworld Festival critics alike are urging people to either remain vigilant and wait for further developments on WWWY or boycott it outright.
Antonio Gabriel D. Tongco is a writer and communication major who also likes to explore other facets of writing such as research and SEO. The views expressed are his own.
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