The internet is buzzing with Coachella fomo. From Megan Thee Stallion debuting a new song to The Weeknd taking us all the way back to 2011 with his setlist, those who weren’t in attendance for the 3-day Indio festival opted to either: watch the livestream or constantly check social media for updates. There were several surprises that pleased onlookers, both virtually and in-person. Anitta brought out Snoop Dogg and Saweetie during her performance, Doja Cat welcomed Rico Nasty for their hit “Tia, Tamera” and Billie Eilish made space for Posdnuos (De La Soul) and Damon Albarn for a rendition of “Feel Good Inc.”
One thing few people could have predicted was a surprise set by Travis Scott at the Revolve x Bootsy Bellows after party. Earlier this month, Interstate 10 billboards popped up around California promoting his newest album, Utopia, that read: “PSST……. Looking for UTOPIA? WRONG WAY!” One even donned his infamous Cactus Jack logo. Following the events at last year’s Astroworld, in which during Scott’s headlining set led to the deaths of 10 people, he had been keeping a relatively low profile.
In December, the rapper sat with Charlamagne Tha God to discuss the emotional toll it had taken on him. He also claimed that he wasn’t aware of how dangerous the crowd had gotten until he was off the stage. “It’s so crazy because I’m that artist too — anytime you can hear something like that, you want to stop the show,” Scott told the radio host. “You want to make sure fans get the proper attention they need.”
Coachella removed Scott from this year’s original lineup as a result of public outrage pertaining to the role he played at Astroworld. Kanye West, who was supposed to headline the festival as well this year but dropped out, hinted that he had plans to have him as a surprise guest during his set. Last month, Scott performed at Darren Dzienciol and Richie Akiva’s private pre-Oscars party in Bel-Air, with videos of reciting “Sicko Mode” circulating around various sites. He did 5 songs during his Revolve stint as well as a brief DJ set alongside his own tour DJ and music producer Chase B.
The artist recently shared a multi-million dollar initiative for event safety called “Project HEAL,” though talking about it led to accusations of a gag order violation. Scott is also still facing hundreds of lawsuits due to the tragic Astroworld incident. Additionally, the House Oversight and Reform Committee is currently investigating Live Nation’s involvement with the 2021 Festival.
It is uncertain whether or not Travis Scott’s career will ever fully recover, but he has made it clear that he is determined to continue to make music and eventually perform in front of large crowds again. He has shouldered most of the blame for the Astroworld fatalities while Live Nation and Scoremore (an Austin-based concert promotion and festival production company) continue to put on shows. The musician offered to pay for the funerals of the victims, provided Astroworld attendees free therapy, launched Project HEAL and is slowly re-entering the live music scene. Scott’s resurgence in the entertainment industry is inevitable but it will never be what it once was. Yes, he may be embraced by West, fawned over at Hollywood events and remain a steadfast fixture in the Kardashian machine. However, the world watched the Astroworld devastation happen in real time–and it won’t be something that they’ll forget anytime soon.