A raucous performance by rapper Travis Scott in Rome this week reportedly left dozens of people requiring medical attention. According to CNN and local media, at least 60 concertgoers were pepper-sprayed in the crowd during Scott's "Utopia" concert at the Circus Maximus ruins. Additionally, a 14-year-old who fell 13 feet from a false wall while trying to see the concert for free also required medical attention.
The concert, which took place outdoors, featured a surprise appearance from rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. The crowd's jumping and shaking during Ye's appearance led to reports of a possible earthquake in the area. Local seismologist Giovanni Diaferia confirmed on Twitter that a seismic station detected the equivalent of a magnitude 1.3 earthquake, likely caused by the energy generated by the jumping crowd.
The chaos and injuries at the Travis Scott concert in Rome have reignited calls to end concerts at the Circus Maximus ruins. Alfonsina Russo, who oversees the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum, stated that the historic site should not be used as a concert venue and should instead be reserved for opera or ballet performances. Russo expressed concern that mega rock concerts put the ruins, as well as the nearby Palatine Hill, at risk.
Circus Maximus, ancient Rome's first and largest stadium, has a history of serving as an entertainment site for various events. Recently, it has hosted performances by Imagine Dragons, Guns N' Roses, and Bruce Springsteen. However, the recent incidents at Travis Scott's concert have raised questions about the suitability of the venue for large-scale concerts.
The chaotic scenes in Rome come just a month after a crowd surge at Travis Scott's Astroworld festival in Houston resulted in 10 deaths and numerous injuries. A similar incident occurred at a GloRilla concert in Rochester, New York, earlier this year, resulting in two deaths and several injuries. Police in both cases are investigating the role of pepper spray in triggering the crowd surges.
These recent incidents highlight the ongoing safety concerns surrounding large-scale concerts and the need for organizers, venues, and authorities to prioritize public safety. The debate over whether historic sites like the Circus Maximus should continue to host such events is likely to intensify in the aftermath of this latest incident.