New York City officials have shut down the final day of the Electric Zoo electronic dance festival after a pair of concertgoers died from overdoses of MDMA (also known as Ecstasy or "molly").
The festival, now in its fifth year, began on Friday and was set to conclude Sunday night with headlining performances from Steve Aoki and Laidback Luke. In the past, more than 100,000 people have showed up for the extravaganza held on Randall’s Island in the East River. But over the first two days this year, two concertgoers overdosed on the party drug MDMA and died after being rushed to the hospital. Another four people are still in intensive care after overdosing.
Out of concern for patrons' safety, both city officials and the Electric Zoo promoters decided Sunday to cancel the final day of the concert.
“The city recommended cancellation and the event promoters have agreed. 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,” read a joint statement from the NYPD and Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office.
Both of the victims were from out of town. The New York Daily News reports that Rochester, N.Y., resident Jeffrey Russ, 23, was taken to Harlem Hospital around 3 a.m. on Saturday and died overnight.
Providence, R.I., resident Olivia Rotondo, 20, was taken to Metropolitan Hospital at 8:45 p.m. on Saturday and died some 50 minutes later. Rotondo had been tweeting about the concert often in the days leading up to the event, and was reportedly staying at a Chinatown hotel with a friend.
On Sunday afternoon, the Electric Zoo website removed most of its promotional material and replaced it with a message of condolences to Rotondo and Russ’ families.
"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."
Electric Zoo also announced on Twitter that it would be refunding patrons who paid for tickets to Sunday’s show.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.