Pepper Spray Used at Travis Scott Concert in Rome Causes Eye and Throat Irritation for Attendees
Approximately 60 people were treated for mild eye and throat irritation after pepper spray was reportedly used at a Travis Scott concert in Rome on Monday night. The incident occurred during the rapper’s debut performance of his chart-topping “Utopia” album, where he was joined on stage by controversial performer Kanye West.
Social media videos from the concert show a group of spectators suddenly moving and taking refuge on a nearby hill. Some climbed over barricades, while others appeared to be crying. Despite the disturbance, the majority of concert-goers seemed unaware, and the performance continued uninterrupted.
The use of pepper spray in Italian crowds is not uncommon, and some incidents have resulted in multiple deaths. In 2018, six people died and hundreds were injured at a rap performance in central Italy after the use of pepper spray resulted in a stampede. Scott’s past performances have also had tragic consequences, most notably in 2021 when 10 people died and hundreds were injured in a crush at a concert at the Astroworld Festival in his hometown of Houston.
In a separate incident on Monday night, a 14-year-old climbed onto a nearby hill to see the concert and fell about 4 meters (around 13 feet). He was taken to a hospital for his injuries.
The concert took place at the Circus Maximus, a vast archeological site where ancient Romans held chariot races. The excited spectators’ vigorous jumping during the concert caused the ground to shake, leading Romans living nearby to take to social media to ask if an earthquake was occurring. The Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology stated that they received many requests for earthquake information from residents who felt the ground shaking after 9:30 PM.
A seismologist with the Institute, Giovanni Diaferia, noted in a social media post that the impact from the concertgoers’ jumps measured equivalent to a magnitude 1.3 earthquake with each jump. This has sparked criticism from archaeologist Alfonsina Russo, who runs the nearby Archaeological Park of the Coliseum. Russo argued that the use of the Circus Maximus for such an event is inappropriate due to its status as a monument with subterranean galleries and archaeological areas.
Russo stated that she had previously voiced concerns to Rome’s mayor about using the venue for large-scale musical events. She suggested that more appropriate events like opera and ballet should be held there instead. Russo firmly believes that rock concerts should be held in stadiums.
Overall, the incident highlights the potential risks and safety concerns associated with large-scale concerts, particularly in historically sensitive locations like the Circus Maximus. Authorities may need to consider stricter security measures and suitable venues for such events to prevent any further incidents and ensure the safety of concert-goers.