The merch tent at NRG Field in Houston, where Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival took place, signaled the first signs of chaos that led to nine festival attendees dying and many injured. Viral videos show hundreds of people hopping over metal barricades to mob a tent filled with exclusive Astroworld Festival merch. A local ABC News station captured the scene from above, showing a massive crowd of attendees working together to remove barricades and push themselves to the front of the tents to buy merch two hours before the gates opened to the public at 1 p.m. Travis Scott’s concert merch, which is released in limited quantities and resold for double its retail price on marketplaces like Grailed or eBay, was a huge draw for festivalgoers.
“A big thing and a big challenge was merchandise tents,” said Houston Police Chief Troy Finner in a press conference on Wednesday. “Very sought-after merchandise. That’s what caused some of the kids rushing towards that and breaking down barriers.”
Although Travis Scott is a Grammy-nominated rapper who tops the Billboard charts, his fanbase is aptly tied to streetwear culture similar to artists like Kanye West. His style is so revered by young men that after he wears vintage Nike sneakers and posts pictures to Instagram, they skyrocket in value. Like West, his clothing collaborations are highly coveted, but Scott has taken a more varied approach. He’s released merchandise with McDonald’s, sneakers with Nike, in-game skins with Fortnite, and more. A rapper who has a “Midas touch,” Scott has even put his name on $4 Reese’s Puffs cereal boxes only to have resellers buy out entire stocks in grocery stores and flip them for as little as $15 online. His concert merch is particularly valuable because it’s only available at performance venues for one to two days, hence why resellers and fans are so ravenous for the product.