The music festival, Electric Zoo, was canceled a day early after two people died from overdoses of the drug MDMA, also known as, ecstasy or “Molly.” The festival, which took place in New York City, was supposed to continue through Sunday but city officials decided to end it early due to the deaths of two people attending the festival.
The two documented deaths were that of Jeffrey Russ, 23, who was rushed to Harlem Hospital early Saturday morning and Olivia Rotondo, 20, who was sent to Metropolitan Hospital on Saturday evening.
Four more confirmed overdoses are also being treated and are listed as being in critical condition.
Citing public health concerns, town officials decided to cancel the final day of the festival, which was running for its fifth year in the city. The cancellation was agreed upon with full support from the promoters of the festival. The official statement from the city is as follows:
“Due to serious health risks, the Electric Zoo music festival on Randall’s Island on Sunday, September 1st has been cancelled. The City recommended cancellation and the event promoters have agreed.”
“During the first two days of the Electric Zoo music festival, two concert-goers have died and at least four others became critically ill and have been placed in intensive care at area hospitals. Definitive causes of death have not yet been determined, however, both appear to have involved the drug MDMA (ecstasy, or molly). 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.”
With the deaths attributed to “molly” and the critical nature of the overdoses, the parties involved with the Electric Zoo Festival agreed with the city that the event’s remaining day needed to be canceled. The organizers of the festival, Made Event released this statement:
“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.”
This is not the first instance where an electronic dance music show has been marred by overdoses of MDMA. In 2012 another show at the Nassau Coliseum was canceled a little more than an hour after it began when an overwhelming influx of emergency calls pointed to a large number of drug overdoses, which were found to result from the use of MDMA and alcohol.
A couple of days ago a Boston club, House of Blues, was shut down after three people were found to have overdosed on MDMA as well. One of the patrons, a 19-year-old New Hampshire woman, died while the other two were in serious condition.
The complications that arise with an overdose using MDMA include dehydration, as the drug raises body temperature. When used in combination with alcohol, dehydration worsens and can become life-threatening. Further complicating overdose problems is the fact that it is difficult to control exactly what the drug is made with. Street names such as ecstasy and molly denote different forms of the drug, pills and powder respectfully.
It was with this information in mind that the Electric Zoo Festival was canceled following reported deaths due to molly overdoses.
Written by: Vanessa Blanchard