The final tally from two days of Electric Zoo: two dead, 19 “stricken,” 31 arrests, at least one sexual assault.
When the third day of the festival was called off, angry ravers directed their rage at Mayor Bloomberg for recommending the cancellation. In the days since though, Bloomberg has forcefully defended Electric Zoo’s organizer, Mike Bindra.
The Mayor told reporters on Tuesday, “we’ve been working with this promoter, organizer, for the past five years and they have a stellar record.”
He added, “The city will have to take a look at every concert to see if the concert can be run safely.”
Whether Electric Zoo will return next year or not won’t be Bloomberg’s choice to make in the end. The decision to continue festivals in public parks like Randall’s Island will be up to the next mayor–and, so far, none of the leading candidates will address the issue.
Of the 10 candidates contacted by the Voice, only two agreed to weigh in. Not coincidentally, they are the two longest shots for the democratic nomination, the candidates who did not poll high enough to participate in the final debate earlier this week.
Sal Albanese agreed with Bloomberg’s decision to shut the festival down. “It was the right move. No event is more important than a person’s life, and, unfortunately, it seems like not enough was being done to keep people safe,” he said.
As for future festivals, Albanese said the added revenue is tempting, “but we have to be careful not to turn parks into constant concert venues. Parks are supposed to be completely open to the public and provide a place for New Yorkers to get a break from the bustle of the city.”
In an emailed statement, Erick Salgado called the deaths at Electric Zoo “tragic,” and “the result of society’s [sic] embracing a drug culture.”
“We cannot be weak on drugs, as many of my opponents are. When our young people continuously hear politicians pushing for decriminalization or legalization of drugs they get the message that there’s nothing wrong, or worse something positive, in using drugs which leads to tragedy,” Salgado said. “Drugs are the enemy, not young people gathering to enjoy a concert. The music should be allowed to continue, but the city must make certain that future events are drug-free.”
And the other candidates? So far, they seem unwilling to take a stand either way.