NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — A New York City dance music festival, which reportedly drew more than 100,000 attendees last year and booked more than 125 electronic music acts on five stages this year, was shut down on its final day Sunday after the deaths of two attendees were apparently linked to drugs.
The city says it recommended that the Electric Zoo festival not continue after the pair of deaths as well as reports that four others had to be hospitalized in critical condition during the first two days of performances on Friday and Saturday.
The two concertgoers who died were identified as Jeffrey Russ, 23, of Rochester, N.Y., and Olivia Rotondo, 20, of Providence, R.I., the New York Times reports. Definitive causes of death have not yet been determined.
The city says the deaths appear to have been linked to drugs, specifically MDMA or ecstasy (a.k.a. “Molly”). Ecstasy is a synthetic, mind-altering drug that acts both as a stimulant and a hallucinogenic and carries many health risks, both short term and long term.
The event’s founders expressed condolences on its website to the families of those who died: “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 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,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.
The festival has been held over Labor Day weekend since 2009 and takes place on Randall’s Island in the East River.
Here’s a trailer for 2013′s Electric Zoo: