Following two deaths at Sunset Music Festival, the Tampa Mayor is “reconsidering” hosting the event, which left 57 more hospitalized this past Memorial Day weekend.
The festival was held at the Raymond James Stadium on May 28 and 29. A representative from St. Joseph’s Hospital reportedly told news station WLFA that the amount of overdoses that she saw over the weekend was “frightening.”
“These type of festivals attract this type of drug use and these types of drugs. You combine that with the heat in the stadium, it really made a perfect storm of bad things to happen,” Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a statement to local news outlets. “You combine that with heat in the stadium, it really made a perfect storm of bad things to happen. Clearly that’s an event that we as a community need to reconsider … The Sports Authority needs to look at whether or not that’s an appropriate event for this community to host.”
Mayor Buckthorn and the fire chief also gave their thoughts on just how much the festival had overwhelmed their emergency response capabilities. It is still undecided as to whether the festival will again take place at the Raymond James Stadium, which is run by The Sports Authority.
The festival organizers additionally released a statement on the deaths that read, “The health, safety and welfare of our fans and community is Sunset Music Festival’s first priority and we take every measure to create a safe environment at our events. Any loss of life is a tragedy and we extend our deepest heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of those affected. Due to the ongoing investigation by the medical examiner’s office, Sunset will not issue additional comments at this time.”
In addition to the deaths of 22-year-old Alex Haynes and 21-year-old Katie Bermudez, there were also 25 felony arrests, 16 marijuana civil citations and 8 misdemeanor arrests made during the festival. The official cause of death of the two concertgoers is yet to be revealed, but it is widely believed that both overdosed.