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Hype takes off from Astroworld

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Hype takes off from Astroworld

Festival goers enter through the front gate of Astroworld. photo courtesy of Kendall Kucera

Festival goers enter through the front gate of Astroworld. photo courtesy of Kendall Kucera

Festival goers enter through the front gate of Astroworld. photo courtesy of Kendall Kucera

Festival goers enter through the front gate of Astroworld. photo courtesy of Kendall Kucera

Grant McCasland, Club Writer

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Between the carnival rides and games, the spirit of Astroworld filled Houston once again one November day. LASA students made the long drive to experience Astroworld Fest first hand.

When Houston native Travis Scott released his third album, “Astroworld”, in August, he followed up on what he called “a seal of faith” to revive the now-demolished theme park of the same name. The Houston-based Six Flags AstroWorld was closed in 2005. Complete with a Ferris wheel and the gold inflatable head depicted on the “Astroworld” album cover, the legendary theme park came back to life for one day as a music festival on Saturday, Nov. 17. Tickets sold out before the lineup was released, even though it came out less than 24 hours before the gates opened. Over 35,000 attendees poured into NRG Park’s grounds, the home of the Houston Texans, throughout the next day.

Pop-rap singer Post Malone and “Black Beatles” duo Rae Sremmurd were among the event’s headliners. Senior Ben Brutocao was surprised by the late lineup announcement, but had confidence that Scott would not disappoint. Brutocao said Astroworld Festival ultimately met his high expectations.

“When I saw the lineup, I was overwhelmingly excited,” Brutocao said. “The acts that I was ecstatic to see were Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Young Thug, Sheck Wes, Metro Boomin, and Trippie Redd. My favorite artist there was Lil Wayne because I revere him at the same level as most people revere Mozart, but his was not my favorite concert. My favorite concert was definitely Travis Scott because his budget for that show alone was most likely more than they spend per day at ACL at all stages for theatrics.”

High energy was a key theme of Astroworld Festival. The tone was set by lyrics such as those on “Stargazing,” the album’s opening track: “It ain’t a moshpit if ain’t no injuries.” Senior Kendall Kucera was among the ragers, Travis Scott’s affectionate moniker for intense fans. Kucera said while he was overwhelmed by the energy, he enjoyed the event’s inclusivity.

“I was squeezed incredibly tight throughout concerts and people pushing meant I was constantly having to focus on just staying standing during performances,” Kucera said. “Unlike at ACL, which was far more tame, I fell twice at Astroworld, once when three people stage dived right next to me causing everyone to collapse and again during ‘Sicko Mode’ at Travis Scott when everyone fell during a mosh pit and I got stepped on. I was certainly very beat up after the festival with my body being very bruised and exhausted which I didn’t expect to happen going in.”

By evoking the lost amusement park’s nostalgia, the festival built a distinct identity compared to ACL. Even the shirts and hats being sold paid homage to the park. Senior Aly Hirani appreciated the merch’s designs but said they were on the expensive side. He also said he liked the aesthetic of the festival.

“I didn’t really care about the rides much, but the Ferris wheel had a sick light design that was fun to stare at,” Hirani said. “The art definitely gave the festival a cool aesthetic and walking through the mouth of the head from the Astroworld album cover really made it feel like I was walking into the album.”

Much like the rollercoasters of old Astroworld, new Astroworld had its ups and downs. Brutocao said some of the performances were disappointing.

“Trippie Redd is an awful performer,” Brutocao said. “He showed up 20 minutes late for a 30-minute set, played four songs, and called it a day. However, while we waited for him to come out, the crowd got restless, and one of our ranks threw an Ozarka water bottle at the stage. It hit a table and bounced off harmlessly. When Trippie did finally show up, he played one line from his most successful song and then cut the music. He let us cheer for another 20 seconds or so. Then, with completely sincere anger, he shouted out ‘Stop throwing bottles at me!’ It caught me off guard, but it was exactly how I hoped Trippie Redd would act.”

Astroworld Festival was one of the final events of Travis Scott’s Astroworld: Wish You Were Here Tour, which concludes on Dec. 19 in Los Angeles. After a hometown tribute accompanied by another platinum-selling album, Scott’s future plans remain unknown. For now, fans like Brutocao, Kucera, and Hirani will wait to learn if Astroworld Festival was a one-time phenomenon, or if it was only the beginning.

“I would definitely go back for a second year,” Kucera said. “It was an intense, once in a lifetime experience that although I couldn’t do every week, I’d love to do every year. It provides a time to go off and rage and go crazy, free of any responsibilities.”

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Hype takes off from Astroworld