September 1, 2013


Electric Zoo Festival Shut Down After Two Deaths

Wendell Teodoro
Wendell Teodoro

The final day of New York City's three-day EDM festival, Electric Zoo, was canceled after two concertgoers died from drug overdoses.

According to an official announcement from the City of New York, four other attendees also became critically ill during the first two days of the festival, and are currently in intensive care units at area hospitals.

After the deaths, the city recommended cancelation of the third day of the event due to "serious health risks." Festival organizers agreed and an announcement was released to the official New York City website.

Although official causes of death have not yet been determined, the announcement states that both deaths "appear to have involved the drug MDMA (ecstasy, or molly)."

It further explained:

"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 New York Times is reporting that the two now deceased concertgoers were identified as Jeffrey Russ, 23, of Rochester, N.Y., and Olivia Rotondo, 20, of Providence, R.I.

Police reports indicate that Russ left the event at 11:49 P.M. Friday in an ambulance and arrived at Harlem Hospital just before midnight with a high fever and a rapid heart rate. He went into respiratory arrest around 3:10 A.M. on Saturday and died at 3:21 A.M.

Rotondo was taken to Metropolitan Hospital at 8:45 P.M. on Saturday and was pronounced dead close to 45 minutes later.

The festival's website states the following:

"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."