Drugs suspected after 2 fans die and 57 are hospitalized after Tampa dance music festival
A Memorial Day weekend electronica concert ended on a harsh note this weekend as two people died and 57 were hospitalized. A 21-year old woman died at the concert, while a 22-year old man died at an area hospital on Sunday after being hospitalized on Saturday, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The young woman was identified as Katie Bermudez, who had celebrated her birthday the week before the Sunset Music Festival. Bermudez was suffering from rapid heartbeat, high temperature and brain swelling when she was transported to the hospital. Her mother says that Bermudez was not a party girl, although Tampa Mayor Bob Buckthorn told local news, “Obviously, that type of music tends to attract a certain type of fan that engages in certain types of drugs.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, electronic music festivals have a reputation for attracting a lot of concertgoers who are using MDMA (Ecstasy, Molly) as part of the experience. One frequent concertgoer, Valerie Rodriguez, said that she had been to four of the Sunset Music Festivals, but that this one was startling. “This one was really uncontrolled,” Rodriguez said. “No one really knows what they’re taking.”
The festival drew a crowd of 30,000. In addition to the injuries, police issued 16 marijuana citations, made 25 felony arrests, and eight misdemeanor arrests.
Autopsies have yet to be performed, but the mother of Bermudez says that her daughter would not have taken the drugs voluntarily. She told the Orlando Sentinel:
“This is not what Katie was about,” Nancy Bermudez said. “I just want from this justice for my daughter and others if there were bad intentions.”