Sara Buturla – Contributing Writer
This past Labor Day weekend Electric Zoo, also known as EZoo, took place for its five-year anniversary. The festival is annually held on Labor Day Weekend on Randall’s Island in New York City where thousands of people come from across the country, and over-seas, to enjoy electric dance music. The show consists of a combination of well-known acts, such as Tiesto and Hardwell, as well as many other underground DJs.
While the first two days of the event were held as planned festival goers awoke Sunday, September 1, to news of cancellation for the third and final day of the event. The City of New York released the following statement before any details were given: Due to serious health risks, the Electric Zoo music festival on Randall‚ Island on Sunday, September 1 has been cancelled. The City recommended cancellation and the event promoters (Made Events) have agreed.
Details were later released noting the death of two concertgoers and four critically ill hospital patients. The identities of the deceased were not released for over 24 hours after the cancellation but are now known to have been Olivia Rotondo, 20, from North Providence, R.I. and Jeffery Russ, 23, from Rochester, N.Y. These deaths and illnesses have been linked to the drug known as MDMA, or the street name of Molly which is a designer drug that is supposed to be the pure form of Ecstasy.
Once the statement of cancellation was released, social media sites like, Twitter and Facebook instantly began buzzing about the controversial topic. Some people expressed their sorrow for the victims, while others lashed out that the victims had ruined the show for everyone. Questions arose about whether or not attendees would receive a refund as well as if event security was going to begin searching people for drugs or monitoring the crowds for unwell attendees. According to SUNY Oneonta senior Phil Grimaldi, who was in attendance for Saturday‚ event, Festival safety was fine, people need to know their limits. They made several announcements at each stage for people and directed them to help stations which were marked clearly all over the festival grounds.” In addition to help stations, free water refill stations were available on site.
DJs, who were in attendance the days before the cancellation, and those who were scheduled to play that Sunday took to Twitter to express their grief for the recent events. Krewella, a DJ trio which was scheduled to play one of the two main stages for Sunday‚ event posted the following on twitter, Condolences to the families and friends of the kids who passed. Please be safe guys. This is so heartbreaking.
Whereas DJ Sebastian Ingrosso spoke out against drug use at these events by saying ‚ÄúMusic should be enough.” Many fear that the EDM genre will begin to lose its spark due to the recent events, believing drug use has wrongly become associated with the genre. In response, the Six Flags event, known as Electric Adventure has been cancelled for September 28, but has been promised to be rescheduled, for 2014‚ in multiple cities. Could this be the end to EDM shows and festivals? Will the popular festival known as EZoo return in 2014? Only time will tell.