Drug overdose deaths triggers cancellation of the Randall's Island electronic music festival. Molly consumption suspected. Additional revelers were hospitalized, as well, officials said.
City officials cancelled the final day of the Electric Zoo dance music festival on Randall’s Island after two concertgoers died from apparent overdoses.
The electronic dance music festival, in its fifth year, was scheduled to conclude Sunday with headlining deejay sets by Armin Van Buuren, Sebastiona Ingrosso, Steve Aoki and Laidback Luke.
But over the first two days of the festival, two attendees died from apparent overdoses of MDMA, nicknamed molly, an illegal drug typically combined with other chemicals in Ecstasy pills, officials said.
Jeffrey Russ, 23, of Rochester, was rushed to Harlem Hospital at 3:10 a.m. Saturday but could not be saved.
Olivia Rotondo, 20, of Providence, R.I., was taken to Metropolitan Hospital at 8:45 p.m. Saturday and died about 50 minutes later, police said. Six hours before she was rushed to the hospital, the University of New Hampshire student posted a final message on Twitter.
“The amount of traveling I've done today is unreal,” Rotondo wrote. “Just get me to the damn zoo.”
The day before, she posted a picture of her feet in giraffe slippers with the message, “Am I ready for @ElectricZooNY or what?”
The festival attracted more than 100,000 people last year.
She also joked about having booked “a non refundable hotel in Chinatown that is the scariest place on earth.”
At least four more festival attendees are being treated for apparent overdoses in intensive care units at local hospitals, officials said.
"The City recommended cancellation and the event promoters have agreed," NYPD officials and Mayor Bloomberg's office said in a joint statement.
"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."
Festival leaders also posted a statement on their website: "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."
The festival attracted over 100,000 people last year, organizers said. Tickets to Sunday's shows cost $179.
Event staff were turning people away Sunday morning as news of the sudden cancellation spread.
New York Daily News (Edgar Sandoval and Barry Paddock reporting)
September 1st 2013
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City cancels final day of Electric Zoo music festival after deaths of 2 concertgoers