Electric Zoo Deaths Short Circuit Festival
Kristen M. Foster
The normally Labor Day weekend-long Electric Zoo music festival turned away attendees Sunday after closing up over two ecstasy-related deaths. Four others are in the intensive care units of area hospitals due to suspected overdoses.
City officials are still investigating the cause of death, but the drug MDMA (a.k.a. ecstasy, molly) is the likely culprit. Police named the two who died: Jeffrey Russ, 23, from Rochester, NY and Olivia Rotondo, 20, of Providence, RI. Russ recently graduated from Syracuse University; Rotondo was still attending the University of New Hampshire as a junior.
“The founders of Electric Zoo send our deepest condolences to the families of the two people who passed away this weekend. Because there is nothing more important to us than our patrons, we have decided in consultation with the New York City Parks Department that there will be no show today,” event promoters released in a Sunday statement. Patrons were advised that they would receive refunds for their $179/day tickets.
This was the fifth year of the festival held on Randalls Island. This years performers included Steve Aoki, Armin Van Vurren, Avicii, Diplo and David Guetta. Tens of thousands of attendees were at the event decked out in animal masks, angel wings, rainbow wigs and all manner of paraphernalia. Performer Armin van Buuren posted a series of three tweets after learning of the deaths:
Security appeared to be a main focus of organizers who provided private security, 550 licensed security guards, who stood on raised platforms to better view the concertgoers. Five checkpoints including pat-downs and bag searches were intended for all though some said they received no checks at all. Organizers also used public announcements to advise fans to seek medical help if any drug-related symptoms surfaced. Five medical tents, medical patrols through the crowd and ambulances were provided on site, Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg explained.
Ticket holders have been vocal over Twitter, expressing condolences but also frustrations over the canceled day. Organizers shared their condolences and updates about refunds on the site:
(image)[Image via Facebook.]