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NYC’s Electric Zoo 2013 Canceled Following Two Drug-Related Deaths

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(Shamira Green, 92.3 NOW/CBS Radio)

(Shamira Green, 92.3 NOW/CBS Radio)

By Annie Reuter

The final day of NYC’s three-day Electric Zoo festival was canceled today (September 1), after two attendees died and at least four others became critically ill, according to CBS New York.

“Definitive causes of death have not yet been determined, however, both appear to have involved the drug MDMA (ecstasy, or molly),” read a statement from New York City officials. “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 victims were identified as Jeffrey Russ, 24, of Rochester, N.Y., and Olivia Rotondo, 20, of Providence, R.I. Founders of the EDM festival and artists alike expressed their shock and sympathies.

“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.”

According to Billboard, this is the first major EDM festival to be cancelled because of drug concerns and comes just four days after a 19-year-old died of drug-related causes at a Zedd concert in Boston and less than a month after a death at the Gathering of the Juggalos.

“I am not sure that there is really anything that a festival promoter can do – and still maintain concertgoers’ Constitutional rights – to eliminate drug usage at concerts,” attorney Ed McPherson of McPherson Rane LLP, told Billboard. “No amount of security personnel, barricades, etcetera could prevent something like this. Unfortunately, however, ecstasy and other drugs have become the culture of some of these festivals.”

Diplo, Armin van Buuren, Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Aoki, Laidback Luke, Krewella, W&W, Tommy Trash, Rusko, Fedde Le Grand, and Chase & Status were all set to perform today at Electric Zoo, held at Randall’s Island.

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