Ecstasy responsible for Sunset Music Festival deaths

Tampa, Fla.- An autopsy report released Monday confirms the death of two people at the Sunset Musical Festival in late May to be from an abuse of the drug ecstasy.

The electronic dance music festival was held at Raymond James Stadium on May 28 and 29. Alex Haynes, 22, of Melbourne, and Katie Bermudez, 21, of Kissimmee, died after attending the event. 57 concertgoers were transported by county and city rescue workers from the festival to hospitals.

The deaths brought awareness of the festival to the Bay area. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in June he didn’t think such EDM festivals should be held on public property- citing “a culture for this type of drug use.”

The stadium is managed by The Tampa Sports Authority, a public agency. After the release of the autopsy report on Monday a city spokeswoman said the mayor’s position on the festival is unchanged.

Ecstasy is more widely known as MDMA or methylenedioxymethamphetamine, and sister drug MDA. According to the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Officer, the drug was found in Haynes’ and Bermudez’s blood. The office ruled their death to be accidental drug abuse.

The Tampa Police Department said EDM festivals are a haven for the type of drug use that killed Haynes and Bermudez. Even though arrests at Sunset this year were at a three-year low, many arrests and citations were given for MDMA, LSD and marijuana.

“This type of event attracts drug use, typically hallucinogenic in the form of MDMA (Molly) and LSD which often times results in overdoses and a plethora of medical calls,” the report from police said.

In another earlier report the Tampa Fire Rescue said the suspected drug use combined with severe heat “put a significant drain on manpower.”

The Tampa Sports Authority is expected to release a separate review in a month or so according to an authority spokesman.