Final Day of NYC’s Electric Zoo Festival Canceled After Two Drug-Related Deaths

The electronic dance music festival was canceled after two concert-goers died and four others were sent to area hospitals

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Daniel Zuchnik / Getty Images

Electric Zoo at Randall's Island on Aug. 31, 2013 in New York City.

The final day of New York City’s three-day Electric Zoo music festival, held on Randall’s Island, was canceled after two concert-goers overdosed and died at the event, the city announced in a statement on Sunday. At least four others remain in critical condition at area hospitals. Though the official cause of death hasn’t been released, it appears that the fatalities resulted from the use of MDMA — either in the form of Ecstasy pills or in its powder or crystal form known as Molly, CNN reports.

“The Electric Zoo organizers have worked with City officials to reduce health risks at this event,” the city explained in the statement, “but in view of these occurrences, the safest course is to cancel the remaining day of the event.”

The festival-goers who died were identified as 20-year-old Olivia Rotondo and 23-year-old Jeffrey Russ. Rotondo was studying communications at the University of New Hampshire, and Russ graduated in 2012 from Syracuse University, the New York Times reports.

The event hosts published the following statement on their website on Sunday morning: “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 three-day festival draws tens of thousands of music fans each year. Last year’s event reportedly had over 100,000 attendees. No numbers have been released as to how many attended this year’s shows.

73 comments
JustinMartin
JustinMartin

I didn't go to college, I must not be as smart as them....  

VerucaSalt
VerucaSalt

Molly is not new. It has been around for more than 20 years. But what is being sold is not "Molly" and it's not MDMA. It is RESEARCH CHEMICALS and until the media and the authorities acknowledge this and began to educate people about Research Chemicals, people are going to continue to die.

queenofnitemare
queenofnitemare

electric zoo my ass. imagine how people would react to the fact that im an open furry. bet it will be the same reaction i get on the streets.

issaachaze
issaachaze

Having been a promoter for 8 years on my own and doing shows in multiple cities via Coolworld, i have seen my share of overdoses and deaths. Two people died at our NYE show in SF and it was devastating for us and the scene. The young adults who passed away at our show had mixed drugs w/ alcohol and with other drugs; crown, coke, mdma, meth. Although this may sound entertaining it can lead to death. Most in the scene know that mixing GHB with Alcohol is a no-no, however there are folks who have no issues mixing meth with mdma and drink beers while there at it (dehydration, irregular heart beat). Obviously your heart goes out to the families of these folks, that goes without saying. That said had this been a LaLaPalooza Concert the show would have gone on. And from first hand experience there are as many drugs at Perry's shows as there was at the Zoo. The difference is the "audience", hands down.....as you don't have as many young adults parading as kids who are "carelessly" stumbling around looking high. When i hosted my first event at 24 years old i had to rush an 18 year old to the hospital for overdosing on GHB. Now i have an 18 year old son and will do everything in my power to make sure he gets the right info to avoid a stomach pump. Just a perspective, no lesson here.

KGBDK
KGBDK

The bottom line is that two kids died, and they didn't die from natural causes.  Honestly, who cares which drug it was?  You guys who are trying to defend MDMA are completely missing the point.  It's like telling everyone what caliber the bullet was in the gun that was used for a homicide.  The mainstream press is going to group together and demonize all drugs as they always have.  

sheedaabest
sheedaabest

@TIME pretty ridiculous that before the event ended they ran out of water.. An essential at raves, (ESPECIALLY) summer ones !

rivers
rivers

such actions should be more well organised to avoid such tragedy, to avoid the youth making the foolish choice

JohnHarper
JohnHarper

@sam_grossmanPlease do not write articles on subjects you know nothing about. People do not die from MDMA. If they received another drug in its place and took way to much of it, that is one thing, but get your facts straight before you harm an entire music scene by your ignorance.

KGBDK
KGBDK

History repeats itself. In the late 90's, a few drug-related deaths also killed the rave scene. With the "Rave Act" city officials held venue owners responsible for anything that happened there, so they refused to rent out to promoters. That effectively killed the rave scene.

kernicki
kernicki

@jubilanis como se não rolasse carreirinha de pó nessas caminhonetes de sertanejos e parada cardíaca com whisky+ennergético

ErikUgalde
ErikUgalde

Its like EDC LA 2010 all over agian. lol


MaryyyHope
MaryyyHope

Seriously? Why do you assume they were Greek? That shows YOUR ignorance

DoubleDees
DoubleDees

Do "they " know for certain it was pills?  What about mixing GHB and alcohol?  In any event, I suppose it doesnt matter.  Two people are dead.  My heart goes out to their families.  I choose not to go because of the temptation to use drugs.  I suggest to those who choose to experiment, educate yourselves, even then, be careful.  People get hooked on drugs all of the time.  Stick to some medicinal marijuana if you must find some escape.  Sobriety is way more bizarre, than any drug experience I have had.

DanielaRecillas
DanielaRecillas

For those who don't know the legal way tp proceed in these trpe of situations. To those who wrote, two people died, who cares? Show must go on. There can be a tremendous law suit have they decided to continue with Sundays show. Yes, I agree, its no ones fault the two decided to overdose. But the organization has a lot to loose and city could have shut down the event for the future. Have it been ecstasy or molly doesn't matter. Two people died and its not a joke. Good for those who party responsibly, keep it up. Music should be your drug, what's the need for drugs? Stay sober my friends, you have better memories and experiences. If not don't be stupid enough to get you self killed.

DoubleDees
DoubleDees

Sad to hear but not surprising.  People who do not know what they are doing and how to take care of them selves, and moderate, inexperienced. Bad combo.  I do not think the last day should have been cancelled.  Why not hold it as a tribute?  Serve up some good energy.  Molly can be MDMA, but everytime I have tried it, totally different experience.  Some has K or, Tina, or Heroine, WTF they cut it with.  So you really have to be careful.


After parties cancelled as well?

jaylandberg
jaylandberg

Molly is NOT MDMA, its just random chemicals thrown together (they're more like bath salts), with new ones often added each time it gets passed along. Sadly many users don't even realize this, let alone the press.

CHOISH
CHOISH

Sorry and Shame. I was supposed to go there today. Here I am ..nothing to do without electric zoo

TipGuitar
TipGuitar

P.S. - I would give away EVERYTHING I have if they do an analysis on the cause of their death, and prove it actually was due to an "overdose" of MDMA/MDA . I would break my two guitars in half if they can actually prove this, and I don't even scratch my guitars.

TipGuitar
TipGuitar

 It really should say "Canceled Due To Ignorant Patrons" . People don't OVERDOSE or DIE from MDMA or MDA, they die due to their complete ignorance to the drug itself. Probably got together with all their frat/sorority dbags, after just finding out bout music festivals in the past year, and decided LETS TAKE A BUNCH OF E ! None of us know how to check or tell if it actually IS a good pill or powder, but who cares , LETS GET Fd UP!    Then continued to "hydrate' themselves with alcohol, leading them to die from dehyradtion.


Way to go ! You just sent back MDMA so many years from being studied and utilized by health professionals, due to it's extraordinary medical properties. Way to give the DEA and Gov. reason to keep cracking down on these festivals and the drugs themse


big_activity
big_activity

@TIME Were the deaths related to alcohol, too? Is that included in the blanket term "drug-related" ?

SafetySal1
SafetySal1

The final day should not have been cancelled.  Neither the organizers nor the other people at electric zoo Saturday or Sunday (cancelled) had anything to do with the people that died from overdose.  It is unfortunate and my condolences go out to the family, but the festival should have not been cancelled today.  Absolutely not!  When someone gets hit by a bus are all NYC busses taken off the road?  Bottom line, Bloomberg is a tyrant.  

EricWinstonTaylorSmith
EricWinstonTaylorSmith

It is important to recognize:

1.  The drug known as Ecstasy/Molly is often *NOT* the same thing as MDMA.  Understand that Ecstasy/Molly is often sold as a combination of various dangerous substances that are not actual MDMA (such as MDA, MDEA, DXM, ketamine, "Speed" etc).

2.  Even if a substance tests positive for MDMA, that does not prove it's purity.  Pure MDMA is often re-packaged with MDA, MDEA, DXM, caffeine, "Speed", etc to maximize profits for the major players in the industry of selling illicit substances.

3.  A recreational dose of virtually any substance (including MDMA) is significantly different than a therapeutic dose of any substance.  Recreational doses of a substance generally pose substantially larger health risks in comparison to therapeutic doses.

4.  Altering the way your body works without being under the supervision of a medical professional is rarely a good a idea, no matter how much you think you know about drugs.

McHOWARD33
McHOWARD33

@TIME: Final day of NYC's Electric Zoo music festival canceled after two drug-related deaths | ti.me/15qJ6ke” stupid people

KGBDK
KGBDK

@JohnHarper @sam_grossman While the facts of this article are debatable, I think that the likely cause of death here is a classic case of dehydration due to extreme physical exertion and lack of fluids.  One can only assume that these kids didn't drink enough water and the venue was hot and humid inside.  Elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, heat exhaustion.  This kind of stuff was happening over a decade ago in the UK and the US.  Back then, we had a word for them.  E-tards.

jubilanis
jubilanis

@kernicki exatamente, mas nunca cai na boca do povo que "tantos morreram de overdose no dia do rodeio", pq é só em festa eletrônica que tem.

KGBDK
KGBDK

@DanielaRecillas Thank you Daniela.  I was a DJ during the rave scene of the late 90's, and it always bothered me that many people were at raves primarily for the drugs and not the music.  These people literally couldn't get into the whole experience without a hit of e or acid.  Those were the people who killed the scene back then, and when I read this article, it seemed like history was repeating itself.  Stupid is as stupid does.

kernicki
kernicki

@jubilanis pois é. Só ficar perto daquele ambulatório da München que isso cai por terra

JamesLowden
JamesLowden

@Rig9ers @CallumRooks hahahahahaha true though ya just need 2 respect them especially Es and Md and mainly ket because it'll kill you if not