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October 22, 2014

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Electric Zoo Canceled After Two Concertgoers’ Drug Deaths

Electric Zoo Canceled After Two Concertgoers’ Drug Deaths

09/02/2013

Electric Zoo, the electric dance music festival that was celebrating its fifth year running, canceled its Sunday lineup after two concertgoers died from drug overdoses.

Syracuse University graduate Jeffrey Russ, a native of Rochester, N.Y., died early Saturday morning following Friday’s concert. Olivia Rotondo, 20, a University of New Hampshire student from Providence R.I., was rushed from the festival grounds Saturday evening before dying at a nearby hospital. Both of them are believed to have overdosed on MDNA, more commonly referred to as “molly.”

The NYPD and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a joint statement to announce Sunday’s cancellation. “The City recommended cancellation and the event promoters have agreed," it read. "The Electric Zoo organizers have worked with city officials to reduce health risks at this event, but in view of these occurrences, the safest course is to cancel the remaining day of the event.”

Electric Zoo released a statement on their Facebook page: "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."

President of NYC Park Advocates Geoffrey Rush, voiced a concern for even greater action in light of the two deaths and multiple hospitalizations as a result of concert drug use. “These events are out of control, and they shouldn’t be happening on park property,” he said. Randall’s Island, which hosted Electric Zoo, also hosts the Governor’s Ball music festival.

Part of the problem, according to one Electric Zoo reveler, is a lack of comprehensive security measures. Andrew Edvin brought a CamelBak hydration bag with him to the daylong concert for hydration purposes, and it came as a surprise to him that no one checked the contents as they’d done at other similar events. “Not once was I asked to open it, and not once was I patted down,” Edvin, 23, told The New York Daily News. “The security and staff along the entrance route did nothing to prevent drugs from being brought in.”

Another factor that played into the early end to Electric Zoo 2013 was the alleged sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl. The case is currently under investigation by the NYPD’s special victims unit.

– Chelsea Regan

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Read more: Electric Zoo, Deaths, EDM

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