The producers of the Electric Zoo festival on Randall’s Island are hoping the EDM dance-fest is tamer, and safer, than last year. In 2013, 23-year-old Jeffrey Russ and 20-year-old Olivia Rotondo died after overdosing on molly in separate incidents, prompting event organizers to cancel the third and final day of the festival.
This year, in order to activate their entry wristbands, concert-goers are required to watch a two-minute video on the dangers of molly. At the end of the video a code is revealed; without the code being activated, the wristbands will not work.
The video, directed by Dexter creator James Manos and his 19-year-old daughter Ellie Manos, shows a guy taking molly at an EDM show. He starts rolling so hard that he frightens the girl he’s with, and ultimately has what seems to be a dangerous out-of-body experience. The message at the end of the PSA warns viewers, “Don’t miss the moment. Be present. Avoid the risks. Come to life.”
Additional precautions taken this weekend will include drug-sniffing dogs, heightened security and medical staff, and signs touting the event’s “zero-tolerance” drug policy. 75 “zookeepers” will also be on hand — watchdogs who are either certified as or studying to be an EMT, paramedic, nurse or doctor. Zookeepers will be easily identifiable by their shirts, which will be emblazoned with an H (for Help). They and other staffers will hand out water to concert-goers in need of hydration.
If you’re planning on getting high: Stay safe. Know what you’re taking. Always be smart about your drugs.
Electric Zoo at Randall’s Island begins Aug. 29.