2 Drug Deaths Shut Down ‘Electric Zoo’ Fest in NYC

Use of MMDA — aka Ecstacy or "molly" — cited as a factor in both fatalities

The final day of Electric Zoo – the electronic-dance-music fest held Labor Day weekend on Randalls Island in New York – was canceled Sunday after two people died and at least four others were injured, according to multiple media reports.

City officials recommended canceling the event hours before it resumed Sunday, and organizers complied, citing “serious health risks” to concertgoers.

Though the two deaths had not yet been assigned a cause, the mayor’s office said in its announcement of the cancellation that MDMA – the drug also known as Ecstasy or molly – was involved.

“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 mayor’s office said in a statement.

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The Labor Day weekend festival was in its fifth year, drawing more than 100,000 people to per day to Randall’s, a part of Manhattan that’s situated on the East River.

The New York Times identified the two concertgoers who died (not pictured) as 23-year-old Jeffrey Russ of Rochester, N.Y.; and 20-year-old Olivia Rotondo of Providence, R.I. Both were students; both died on Saturday of what appeared to be drug-related causes.

Concert promoter and organizer Made Event made the following statement: “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.”

Artists slated to perform Sunday included Digital Lab, Zedd, Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Aoki and Diplo.