If you’re of a certain generation in Houston, you remember Astroworld. You remember turning in a season pass, getting it stamped and then rolling with a crew of friends to select rides. You recall boys and girls catching your eye and the first glimpse of confidence rolled in. You remember having the child-like wonder and absolute glee of getting on your first ride and felt a type of way when the park closed for good the day before Halloween 2005.
Travis Scott is of that same era. He was thirteen when the space closed for good and if you ever turn an eye to that empty patch of grass some mere blocks from NRG Stadium and the aging but still glorious monument that is the Astrodome, you knew what was there. So Travis, inside that deep imagination of his — wanted to bring it back.
The conversation about AstroWorldFest, its lineup, its installations that tied together all of the nostalgia of the old park with splashes of actual Houston intertwined will last for weeks, maybe even months. Skeptics and casual fans alike wondered aloud how did something so big, so massive happen before Beyonce even did it. Because Houston is the land of comparison. Even while pulling together smiles and good feelings, there’s a wash that rinses over everyone. Why didn’t this happen sooner?
Imagine walking around a open sandbox of a playground. There are carnival acts spitting fire and men in flamboyant eagle costumes posing while painted red and silver. Then imagine a giant pop-up replica of Screwed Up Records & Tapes taking business as you hear Z-Ro perform “Mo City Don” word for word. Then imagine Scott himself and his DJ OG Chase B losing their minds at the moment off stage. Imagine standing in line to grab a funnel cake (an Astroworld staple) and then right next to it you could get some tenders and wings from Frenchy’s. That could happen at AstroworldFest. It’s a festival that is so unique to Houston and to Texas in general that it couldn’t be anything other than something Travis put on.
And should put on — every year.
Mixing in a lineup of the usual Swiss Army knife of Houston rap all-stars from Bun B, Ro, Lil Flip and more and industry heavyweights, it gave a crowd of some 40,000 people a piece of everything. You could watch Rae Sremmurd wild out with a champagne bottle and moments later see Lil Wayne take a near 25-year career and jerk around a stage in pure jubilation because he was free to do so again. You could overhear Dice Soho give his shoutouts to Scott while performing massive city-wide hits and Maxo Kream operate like a massive tank who could drop 32 bars in less than 40 seconds. If you ventured backstage, you saw Flip and Johnny Dang playing ping pong as you could get your own custom grill. You could play basketball and were gifted with a pair of exclusive Air Jordans specifically from Travis and Virgil Abloh. It was a giveback in all the ways possible. If the murals of DJ Screw and Big Hawk weren’t enough, it was a generational stamp on what Houston rap and Houston culture has meant for the better part of three decades now.
Astroworld always felt like a family reunion anyway. Running into your friends who became your cousins when sh*t got crazy. Even if there was no Greezed Lighting’ on the grounds, you could still ride a massive Dungeon Drop like replica. Or, you could be like the smart festival fan and got atop of the Ferris wheel and looked down at what Travis and his team created.
The most memorable moment of the night came at the very end. Travis shielded his face because he didn’t want us to see him cry but we knew what this meant to him. He was overwhelmed with the fact it all happened, exactly how he envisioned. “My beautiful wife she came, my beautiful daughter she’s here too. I love y’all so much. Nothing is more important than the 40,000 people in front of me right now,” he told us. Gossip blogs and whomever else were going to feast on that Kylie quote but Travis couldn’t help himself. He felt like he’d been told no about so many things that watching this happen, in front of this many people on a Coachella type stage was perfect.
Home is always where the love is. It may not be the truest love, but it is where the love first started. For Scott and everyone who decided to ruin hundreds of dollars of shoes from Chucks to Off-White Jordans just to mosh and rage — this was their night too. For the older heads who watched Astroworld be part of their growth into adults from awkward teenagers, they shed a few tears too.
2018 belonged to Travis, it belonged to Houston.
AstroworldFest was just the tipping point of that.
Stay tuned for more Astroworld Fest coverage including our official gallery with shots of Post Malone, Gunna, Lil Wayne, Rae Sremmurd, H-Town All-Stars and more!