This past Saturday was quite an exciting day for Houstonians and Travis Scott fans all over as the second installment of the Scott imagined fest Astroworld was greeted by over 50,000 attendees and beautiful fall weather. As someone who attended the last year’s first round of the festival, the instant I stepped foot into the vicinity of NRG Stadium, where the event was held, I could tell that the energy was definitely more chaotic and charged guaranteeing an unforgettable day in music.
Walking onto the grounds a little bit after 2 p.m., the muddy floors had already been christened by countless Sheck Wes mosh pits. As I walked around to take in the fest and explore the new amenities, the Houston All-Stars consisting of Bun B, Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Lil Keke, Trae tha Truth, DJ Mr. Rogers, and a surprise appearance from Maxo Kream filled the air. This year’s attractions included carnival rides, the Dome light and sound experience, and a western themed art walk through ending in a basketball shoot out.
After taking in the festival, the first set of the day I wanted to catch was Megan Thee Stallion. Thousand of fans began to que up at the Thrills stage in anticipation of seeing the Houston stallion themselves. As the time grew closer to her appearance chants of “Meghan! Meghan! Meghan!” began to echo through the grounds. The lights shone, smoke machines turned on, and expectant fans were greeted with an on screen message alerting us of Gucci Mane‘s travel plans not allowing him to make it into Houston on time meaning Megan would take his slot later in the day. Confusion filled the crowd and most seemed to only be slightly annoyed about having missed part of Da Baby‘s set in order to wait for Megan. I was able to catch a bit of Megan‘s set that played on the side stage screens while waiting for Playboi Carti at the Chills stage. Keeping in line with what was expected Megan powerfully took the stage, brought fans on stage to dance their hearts out, twerked for her life, and was met with great energy as she performed “Big Ole Freak”.
The next highly anticipated artist of the day was Playboi Carti. Continuing on with the chaotic energy of the day, fans in the pit prepared themselves for the mosh pits that were to ensue once Carti took the stage. Having seen Playboi Carti before, I thought I knew two things. The first being that he would be late. The second being that I could handle the pit. About a minute after his on time start, I found myself to be entirely wrong. Carti walked out donning a black durag hiding his golden locks, a red jacket, and black leather pants that shone all the way in the back to his typical sirens and once his music started chaos came with. The beginning of his set is a blur to me and many people around me remarked how they could not even hear the music as they tried to escape the pit. As I frantically made my exit, squeezing through the crowd I was delighted to get to fresh air and open space just as Carti started his classic “Fetti” featuring lyrics “I just left Houston. I just left Earth.”. Again to my surprise, Maxo Kream who is featured in the song did not take to the stage to join him.
After the sun set during Carti‘s performance, I and other fans finally had the chance to relax with Young Thug. Trekking back over to the Thrills stage, I found a fan base who were there to vibe and sing along with the rapper. Simply dressed, but never forgetting the jewelry, Young Thug performed hits like ” Wyclef Jean” and “Just How It Is” as the weather cooled and more and more fans arrived to catch the second half of the festival.
Continuing on next through the night was the unexpected Marilyn Manson. Many Travis Scott fans were surprised to see Marilyn on the lineup, but after looking closer other realized that Travis is a rock star himself and having Manson as a performer made total sense. While some dedicated Manson fans and others wishing to experience the rock star for the first time waited at the barricades, most of the festival’s attendees were at the Chills stage for Migos‘ performance. As “Walk It Like I Talk It” closed their set, Marilyn Mason and band took to the stage in all black attire and the characteristic face paint to match. As his strong and growl like vocals filled out ears, circle pits grew and rock on signs filled the air. Making an outfit change into a black feathered cape as “Dope Show” began, one his biggest fans in the crowd climbed a friend’s shoulders to flash the rocker on stage. As the set continued, the fan favorite “Sweet Dreams’ ricocheted through the speakers and music lovers screamed along. It was quite a sight to see at a “Rap/Hip-Hop” festival.
Following Manson, was music legend Pharrell at the Chills stage. One of the exciting aspects of this show was seeing a younger crowd who may not fully know who Pharrell is or the expanse of his production in the music industry sing and dance along. It was a moment where you could tell people were finally linking the song to the creator while others simply took in the show in anticipating for Travis Scott later in the night. Taking the stage in a Kanye West hoodie, Pharrell was joined by a group of female dancers to match the energy of his dance tracks. Going from “Drop It Like It’s Hot” to “Pass the Coursevoiser” to “Apsh*t”, Williams kept the hip-hop flow of the night. Taking it back to his classic pop tracks the crowed roared as “Milkshake” and “Bananas” were next on the set list. Pharrell then took a pause to comment on the Houston energy and a Houston Astros chant broke out just before he closed with “Happy”.
The second to last act of the night was Rosalía, a now three time Latin Grammy Award winner. While Rosalía definitely has quite a large fan base, many people at the festival did not know who she was decided to stay after Pharrell‘s set to secure their spots for Travis’ set at the end of the night. When I traveled back over to the Thrills stage, I was met by a mostly Spanish speaking and dedicated fans. Once Rosalía took to the stage on a light paneled podium followed by a group of equally as fierce dancers and background vocalists, endearing cheers of “Rosalía!” and “So pretty!” were heard across the crowd. Performing dance hits “Como Ali” and “Yo x Tu, Tu x Mi”, the audience stayed warm in the cool night as they danced and sang along. Slowing it down, Rosalía’s set took a emotional turn as she passionately sang bits from “Barefoot in the Park” a capella before going in to “Catalina” as her eyes teared up and crowd silenced to take the performance in. Picking back up with ‘Pienso En Tu Mira” the warmth returned and the dance party continued. As she closed off the Thrills stage for the night with one of my favorite performance of the day, the rest of the attendees began to make their headway to catch the final performance of the evening.
Closing the night was the long awaited Travis Scott. For the final performance of the night, I took to higher ground to watch the set from above. After a thirty minute delay, Travis was welcomed onto the stage by none other than comedian Dave Chapelle. Having to depart from his typical way of performing due to a hurt leg, Scott addressed the crowed from a crane lift in the sky. While his legs limited his movement, his braids could be seen flying all over as the compensated for not being able to run around the stage. “Stargazing” was the first song of the night and fans reciprocated the energy as their voices could be heard from afar. After finishing “Carousel”, Scott accidentally dropped the mic into the crowd and fans took the opportunity to let the entirety of the 50,000 people in attendance know of their love and support for the rapper. When a new mic was delivered to the rapper by a tech who crawled up the crane, the show continued on with “No Bystanders” and “Butterfly Effect” before transitioning into his latest single “Highest in the Room”. To take the energy back up after slowing it down with”90210″ and “Wake Up”, Travis introduced the next song, “Astrothunder”, by letting us know that it is his mom’s favorite song.
The energy may have been taken up too much as Travis faced two power outages during his set before bringing out Young Thug, Migos, and Gunna to join in. The next surprise of the night was Kanye West fresh off of his latest album “Jesus Is King” who performed a snippet from the album before taking fans back with “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”. Closing the night, Scott performed “Antidote” one his first hits, greeted his daughter Stormi who was backstage, and the brought Swae Lee out to perform their song of the year “Sicko Mode” with the backing of fireworks to say goodbye to the day’s festivities.
After the festival’s lights turned off and fans began to make their exits, remarks of how great the day was could be heard from every direction. Once again Travis Scott brought an amazing event back to his hometown to show love to his incredibly supportive fan base. No announcement on if the fest will return next year has been made yet, but one thing for sure is that if it happens again it will be met with the same energy and love as in the past.