57 Hospitalized After Attending Florida Music Festival
At least 2 people died and 57 others were hospitalized after attending the Sunset Music Festival held at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida.
The Tampa Bay Police identified the victims in a press release as Alex Haynes, a 22-year-old man from Melbourne, and Katie Bermudez, a 21-year-old Kissimmee woman. They were both rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa after the Saturday event. Unfortunately, the man died the next day while the woman died on Monday.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Mayor Bob Bruckhorn told reporters, “Clearly, that was an event that we as a community really need to reconsider. This is not the type of event that Tampa wants to be known for.”
Sunset Music Festival
The Sunset Music Festival is an annual concert held in Tampa Bay, Florida for the electronic dance music (EDM) crowd. It is held in the month of May at the Raymond James Stadium and brings in top EDM DJ’s like David Guetta and other stars in the dance music genre. This year was the fifth edition of the concert and it was scheduled for Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29. The invited performers were Hardwell, Galantis, Jack U and The ChainSmokers.
Tragic Aftermath of Tampa Music Festival
This year’s event has shocked many after two people died of a suspected drug overdose and nearly 60 others were hospitalized. According to WFLA News, a Hillsborough County Medical Examiner said the victims likely overdosed on “an undetermined drug”.
One expert, Dr. Tamas Peredy of the Poison Control Center, believes the drug in question is MDMA or Molly. Both victims were reported to have high body temperatures when they were admitted at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which is a characteristic effect of using Molly. The drug becomes even more potent in hot weather and when it is mixed with other substances.
Peredy told WFLA News, “I think people need to realize when they buy something called Molly, it would be like walking into the store and buying soda and not knowing what was in the bottle.”
Festival organizers sent their condolences to the families and called the loss of life “a tragedy”. They reiterated that the first priority is always the health and safety of the festival goers. However, some people believe the organizers didn’t do a good job this year with one regular visitor telling the Tampa Bay Times that the event was “uncontrolled”. The Police report on the concert shows that there were 25 felony arrests made, 8 misdemeanor arrests and 16 civil citations for marijuana violations.
Mayor Bob Buckthorn was quoted by the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday saying, “Obviously, that type of music tends to attract a certain type of fan that engages in certain types of drugs. It worries me any time we have a loss of life here, particularly when it could have been prevented by better decision making.”
Katie Bermudez’s mother, Nancy, also stressed to WFLA News that although no one knows what happened at the concert, her daughter was not at fault. She claimed Katie might have been spiked because she was not into drugs and didn’t even drink alcohol.
As of yet, the Tampa Bay Police Department has not mentioned whether this case will become a criminal investigation. The Tampa Sports Authority, which manages the Raymond James Stadium, also released a statement saying a review would be done together with local officials and the findings will be presented.