Last weekend, rapper Travis Scott’s annual Astroworld Festival turned into a complete disaster. After ignoring countless red flags and warnings by Houston PD, Scott took the stage after making his fans wait for two hours, and the crowd surged forward and rushed the barricades. Eight people were killed and hundreds were injured, including several children who got trampled. But rather than blame this awful mishandling of this live event on festival organizers or poor planning, online conspiracy theorists have targeted a predictable patsy: Satan.
As reported by Mel Magazine, a number of Christian conspiracy nuts online have come up with an elaborate, satanic-panic-style explanation as to how Astroworld was in fact a human sacrifice to the Devil. While many of these modern-day Matthew Hopkinses (look him up) are just evangelical Christians who like feeling validated, a lot of them are of course involved in QAnon, which famously plays on the age-old concept of a satanic cabal murdering children to sustain their eternal lives.
Some of the more insane theories include that the number of pyro flames matched the number of victims:
That the entrance to Scott’s festival was basically a medieval hellmouth meant to represent the jaws of the demon possessing Scott:
From my Patreon post "Demons or Spiritual Parasites I' I posted: "These ‘spiritual’ leaders parasitize their followers while they are alive and after death their followers will be delivered into the jaws of whatever demon their ‘spiritual’ leader was possessed by."
— Khensu The Reminder (@KNeferhetep) November 6, 2021
And that the image of a burning dove which Scott projected over his set opening was a satanic image meant to hypnotize the crowd:
Obviously, metalheads are used to this sort of flak, given how hard we court satanic imagery and messages. It’s this kind of panic aimed at a mainstream artist that’s causing such a hubub.
The truth is, blaming Astroworld on Satan or satanic worshippers is just too easy. It provides a quick, catch-all answer to a clumsy, ugly, very human problem. Satan didn’t kill those eight people, and neither did rap music, or rap fans, or Gen Z. The culprit here is the mismanagement of a live event. The people responsible for this weren’t evil or diabolical, they were most likely just greedy, lazy, and not ready for the crowd to react the way it did. People just want to bring Satan into the mix because the truth is much sadder than any demonic conspiracy.
Meanwhile, if this is bumming you out, check out our list of ten bands stopping their show to help their fans.
Words by Chris Krovatin