UPPER EAST SIDE — The dance music fest Electric Zoo is planning to return to Randall’s Island this summer with increased security measures like drug-sniffing dogs following the overdose deaths of two concertgoers last year, organizers said.
“The opportunity to again host Electric Zoo on Randall’s Island is a responsibility we take seriously, and we look forward to expanding our safety and security measures in order to further improve the concert experience for our fans,” said Mike Bindra and Laura De Palma, co-founder of of Electric Zoo, in a joint statement.
The fate of Electric Zoo, which has been running for five years, was unclear after two young concertgoers died on the second day of last year’s festival. Organizers cancelled the final day of the event despite outcry from fans. The city Medical Examiner later determined that both deaths were the result of fatal overdoses of the drug "molly," a form of Ecstasy.
Bindra and De Palma hired high-powered lobbyist Mike McKeon to help them win support from the city, the Daily News reported last month. The Parks Department must grant Electric Zoo a permit in order to hold the outdoor event at Randall’s Island.
According to the statement from Bindra and De Palma, Electric Zoo will add many security features this year. The organizers plan to employ drug-sniffing dogs at the all of the festival entrances, institute background checks of all employees and vendors, and increase the number and visibility of security officers at the event. They will also shorten the length of each day’s concerts to reduce party-goers' exposure to heatstroke and continue to provide unlimited access to free water.
The organizers also plan to develop an aggressive program of anti-drug messaging. Fans will be required to watch a PSA on the dangers of drug use featuring leading electronic music artists before they can validate their tickets. A social media campaign will be launched prior to the event to put out a clear message about prohibited conduct and possible consequences.
The festival will run from August 29-31, with tickets going on sale April 29. The festival's line-up has not yet been announced.