Electric Zoo music festival cut short after two die

A general view of atmosphere during Electric Zoo 2012 at Randall's Island on September 2, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Brian Killian/WireImage)
Four other concertgoers were hospitalized over the weekend. Credit: Brian Killian/WireImage

The final day of the Electric Zoo music festival on Randall’s Island was canceled Sunday after two people died from apparent drug overdoses.

The city and concert organizers announced on Sunday morning that the event had been canceled “due to serious health risks.”

Two concertgoers died, while four others became critically ill and were placed in intensive care during the first two days of the festival, officials said. The causes of the deaths had not yet been determined, but they both appear to have involved the drug MDMA, also known as 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,” a statement from the mayor’s office read.

Jeffrey Russ, 23, a graduate of Syracuse University, and Olivia Rotundo, a 20-year-old student at the University of New Hampshire, have been identified as the two people who died, The New York Daily News reported.

Launched in 2009, Electric Zoo is an electronic music festival held on Randall’s Island Park every year during Labor Day weekend. The festival had more than 110,000 attendees in 2012.

The three-day event began Friday and was scheduled to run through Sunday night.

Made Event, the founders of the festival, released this statement on Sunday:

“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.”


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