The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I went to my first Don Toliver show a couple of months ago. Before this, I had never been to a real concert before. It was one of the craziest experiences of my life. The venue was hot, people were pulling on my braids by accident, everyone was sweaty and I couldn’t breathe the closer I got to the front of the stage. No one could hear anything I was saying — the music was loud and the audience was louder. Now imagine that but with 50,000+ more people. That was Astroworld. The massive festival that opened on November 5th is now known as the most deadly festival in history. With 8 casualties and hundreds of injuries, this tragedy went viral on social media, opening up the conversation of massive concerts and how dangerous they can truly be.
WHAT IS RAGE CULTURE?
Raging isn’t a new phenomenon, and its earliest examples could be traced back to the 60s. Its modern form was popularized by rock, heavy metal and screamo bands, though hip hop acts like Onyx have also popularized contemporary mosh pitting at concerts and performances. Rage music and rage culture was a way for listeners to release negative energy. This could be expressed through pushing and shoving each other in crowds (yes, really), yelling, and generally causing havoc.
At concerts Travis Scott has been promoting the idea of rage culture and mosh pits since his rise in popularity, even calling his fans “ragers”. He also has a history of disorderly conduct at his shows, being sued and arrested on many cases of disorderly conduct and criminal mischief. Astroworld had a plethora of issues even before Travis took the main stage; with people bypassing security checkpoints en masse hours before the main performances which was documented on twitter.
And it isn’t just Travis Scott who leads and promotes this subculture. Other major artists such as Trippie Redd, Playboi Carti, Baby Keem and Don Toliver as I previously mentioned are some of the current hip hop artists who also have fanbases who partake in mosh pitting. They are even mentioned in their songs, with Mosh Pit by Baby Keem going mega viral on TikTok not too long ago. There have been many cases where these artists have had to have concerts delayed or cancelled due to rioting or overcrowding.
Many new age hip hop artists want to adopt the “rockstar” persona of the 70s which is characterized by having high energy concerts, an unconventional fashion sense and a genuine distaste for authority. But even in its most popular eras with acts such as KISS, The Mötley Crew and Limp Bizkit having mass amounts of raging attendees at these shows, there has not been a concert with as many casualties.
I’m not writing this to condemn moshpits and the raging subculture. It’s only nature for fans to be passionate about their favorite artists and being a fan of the aesthetic was never inherently dangerous. But artists should keep in mind their influence in these energetic concerts, especially ones as large as Astroworld, by making sure there is ample security and maintaining proper communication between every worker at the event. Safety should and always be the first priority.