H-Town’s very own Travis Scott hosted his inaugural Astroworld Festival this weekend at NRG Park in Houston, TX! Travis built the suspense and made sure that all the kids coming out to rage were on their toes. With that being said, Travis didn’t even announce the lineup for the festival until about 24 hours before the doors opened to his first-ever festival. To none of our dismay, Travis delivered and brought us a stacked lineup that can only be comparable to a more concise Rolling Loud lineup.
Travis invited Lil Wayne, Post Malone, Young Thug, various Houston artists and more to celebrate this important day. He even had the guests on his current Astroworld tour there with Sheck Wes, Gunna, and Trippie Redd.
Now, I didn’t grow up in Houston nor did I ever get a chance to check out Six Flags’ Astroworld before it closed down in 2005, but stepping foot inside NRG Park for Astroworld Fest might have been more of an experience than any rollercoaster at the original could have. After walking through the giant Travis Scott head at the entrance to Astroworld, you are immediately greeted by a giant Ferris Wheel, rides, games, and an arcade all displayed alongside a personalized live soundtrack curated by Travis himself playing on two separate stages, aptly called the “Thrills” and “Chills” stages.
Since we had made the drive to Houston from New Orleans that morning (and due to some dickhead cop pulling me over for an ‘improper lane change’ on a highway) we got the festival just after the first two guests, Tommy Genesis and Smokepurpp, finished performing. We walked in just in time for Virgil Abloh’s set (Yes, the guy from Off-White and Louis V). As we made our way through the giant inflatable Travis Scott head that welcomed all the guests to Astroworld, we were greeted with Playboi Carti’s RIP bumping from the speakers of the main “Chills” stage. Virgil’s set consisted of a bunch of songs from some of his favorite artists like Kanye, Cudi, and Carti.
The way the set times were set up allowed for everyone at the event to alternate between the two stages without being forced to pick one artist over the other. This is just one of the perks of festivals with a more concise lineup. Anyway, next up on the opposing “Thrills” stage was the clout demon himself, Trippie Redd, who actually put on a great high-energy set, even if he came on stage like 15 minutes late, resulting in a flimsy 15-minute set. Nonetheless, the “Chills” stage brought a load of attention to it after Trippie Redd’s set when Metro Boomin took to the stage for a set consisting of some of our favorite Metro produced singles and hits from his albums Savage Mode, Without Warning, and his latest release Not All Heroes Wear Capes.
Sheck Wes followed up Metro on the other stage and to nobody’s surprise, damn near started a riot for his last two songs, Mo Bamba and LiveSheckWes, respectively. This was the perfect energy to set the tone for what I can only assume had to have been a highlight of the day for all the Houstonites, with the Houston All-Stars set on the “Chills” stage. Made up of Houston legends, both old and young, like Bun B, Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Trae the Truth, and Maxo Kream, the Houston All-Stars had a nostalgic and culturally driven set that had the 40,000 plus attendees all proud to be in the city of Houston, whether they were from there or not.
Gunna then took to the stage and played a bunch of hits from Drip Harder and Drip Season 3 and was even joined by Metro on stage for their latest effort Space Cadet. Rightfully so, Young Thug came on stage after his young protégé Gunna finished his set. Thugger blessed the crowd with a pretty impressive setlist composed of songs from all over his lengthy discography. I can’t lie, I’ve had Thug cancel on a show I was at once before so there was a lot riding on this performance, and I have to be honest in saying it was kind of worth it. Regardless of how slurred he might have been on stage at first, there was a really surreal feeling see Jeffrey actually on stage right there in front of you. I can only assume the Twelve Disciples experienced a similar feeling when they were in the presence of Jesus.
Rae Sremmurd and Lil Wayne closed out the “Thrills” stage, both delivering to the crowd the hits of theirs that they’ve weaved into our pop-culture. Post Malone closed out the “Chills” stage before Travis would take the stage after Lil Wayne’s set and might have given us one of the best actual artistic live sets of the day. Then, there was the calm before the storm as the 40,000 deep crowd waited impatiently for Travis to come on stage.
When the darkness of the stage was finally illuminated by the radiating Astroworld Intro playing on the screen, the crowd, almost robotically, began shifting and pushing themselves forward towards to the stage. Once the intro ended, to our surprise, Travis welcomed the crowd by classically singing in his autotuned mic saying “I’m behind yoououououuuu” before Stargazing dropped and an explosion from a small stage at the back of the crowd illuminated Travis for the whole festival to see him.
Before going into his second song, he decided to strap into a roller-coaster like loop for a quick spin before inviting a fan on stage to ride it as he played Carousel. As if we didn’t already know, Travis really is all for his fans and paid thanks to many of his early fans by playing some fan favorites from his project ‘Owl Pharaoh’ like Quintana, Uptown, and of course Upper Echelon. He even incorporated some of his deeper cut songs in the background of the visuals he’d have on screen when he’d transition songs in his set. Along with a lengthy, 20-something song setlist, Travis delivered by giving us an impeccably wide array of his discography in the 90 minutes he was on stage, even if some songs (like Skyfall) were only for like 30 seconds at best. We got a good amount of Days Before, Rodeo, Birds, and pretty much Astroworld in its entirety.
Travis even brought up a variety of guests on stage to perform alongside him such as Young Thug for Pick up the Phone, Swae Lee for RIP Screw, Don Toliver for Can’t Say, Nav for Biebs in the Trap, and Gunna for Yosemite. Funny enough, Nav didn’t come back out for his verse, he’s probably so over all the memes that he’s disowned that verse from his repertoire. Nonetheless, his contribution on Biebs in the Trap was something that I don’t think many were expecting.
All in all, Travis Scott has created an incredibly inventive and original music festival that gave this timeless, family-themed amusement park, a Kafka-esque feel to it that was 100%, authentically La Flame. The future for this Houston festival is just as bright as Travis’ future himself.
Tristan Chandra (@youngxgosling)