Travis Scott Returns to the Festival Stage Later This Year

In the first major performances since the Astroworld tragedy in 2021, can the Houston rapper’s reputation be revived?

By DeVaughn Douglas May 25, 2022

Rapper Travis Scott will be headlining three festivals in November for the first time following the mass casualty at the 2021 Astroworld Festival in Houston. 

Image: Greg Noire

Travis Scott is making a gradual return to public performances, recently performing at a Miami club during the city’s Grand Prix Weekend. While it is not at the level of the festivals and award shows that Scott normally commands, it is a steady progression back into the public eye. 

In April, Primavera Sound announced that Scott will be headlining three festivals in November, on the 6th in Sao Paulo, Brazil; the 12th in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the 13th in Santiago, Chile. November will mark a full year following the mass casualty tragedy at the 2021 Astroworld fest in Houston. 

The Mo City rapper has been a marketing powerhouse for the last few years, but the events at Astroworld caused the severance of partnerships with major brands and a series of major performance cancellations, including Coachella and Day N Vegas. McDonald’s, which had a profitable relationship with the rapper, quietly dissolved the partnership. Epic Games, which held a highly attended online concert in the Fortnite platform, has deleted images of Scott from the game. The A24 film Red Rocket was to premiere at a special screening following the festival, but after the cancellation, the production company has appeared to take a step back. Nike delayed the release of the collaborative shoe, the Air Max 1x Cactus Jack. General Mills announced that it has no new plans for future promotions with Scott, while publications like W Magazine moved to scrap a cover with Scott and his girlfriend, Kylie Jenner.

Although Scott is battling in the court of public opinion, brands appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach as the trial for the events that occurred Nov. 5, 2021, looms in the future. Attorneys representing the victims state that 4,900 people were injured at the festival, a significant jump from the 2,800 claims estimated in January. As litigation moves forward against Scott, Live Nation, Drake, Apple, Epic Records, and the Harris County Sports and Convention Corp., Scott has remained relatively quiet. 

Back in March, attorneys representing those killed or injured at the concert alleged that Scott violated a gag order with the announcement of his $5 million Project Heal initiative, which was created to address safety challenges for festivals and large-scale events. Just as Scott’s attorneys complained of attempts to sway the jury pool, the plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that Scott's promotion of Project Heal on his social media has the same jury-swaying effect. 

For now, it looks like the victims, the defendants and the brands that have worked closely with Scott are waiting until the conclusion of the $750 million lawsuit.

Time will tell if Scott is able to reclaim the spot he once held in the music industry. In April, billboards popped up in California teasing the release of Utopia, the fourth studio album that was supposed to be released during the Astroworld Fest. Also, Diddy, who executive produced the 2022 Billboard Awards, recently declared that Scott “uncancelled” granting the rapper a pre-recorded performance. 

Whether the public welcomes Scott back to the big stages remains to be seen, but his forthcoming performances at the Primavera Festival will be a good litmus test. 


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