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Electric Zoo Festival spirals into chaos after maximum capacity prompts fans to storm gates

Electric Zoo Festival spirals into chaos after maximum capacity prompts fans to storm gates

By Sonia Rincón WABC logo

Monday, September 4, 2023

RANDALL’S ISLAND, Manhattan (WABC) — The Electric Zoo Festival reached maximum capacity Sunday night ‘due to unforeseen circumstances’ and did not let anyone else in for safety reasons.

As a result, a crowd stormed the gates at the festival, causing even more chaos for an event that struggled to get on its feet on opening day.

Around 6 p.m., security workers stopped letting people in – even those who bought tickets.

Some fans did not leave quietly when they got to the gate and were told their ticket wouldn’t get them in. Soon after the news broke, social media videos show fans pushing their way in, rushing the gates, jumping over and crawling through a security checkpoint, then running into the festival.

The situation left police helpless and unable to stop the sheer number of people rushing into the event held at Randall’s Park.

While the festival still went on, many of the people who bought tickets and planned to go were turned away. Sonia Rincon has the details.

Fans’ disappointment has been building since Friday when day one of Electric Zoo was cancelled – the festival saying it had an issue getting a main stage up because of supply chain disruptions. Then, on Saturday, Day Two started two hours late. Sunday was the third and final day of the festival, and the turnout was more than they were prepared for.

The entrances to Randall’s Island from the Triboro Bridge – for pedestrians and vehicles were shut down.

Eyewitness News spoke to some fans who bought tickets month ago and never made it in – and one who witnessed what he called the ‘stampede,’ saying all the running made him wonder if there was an active shooter, so he and his friends felt uneasy and called it a night early.

“We just saw all of the equipment, the tents, stuff like that being knocked down so we didn’t know what to do. It was a crazy situation. And after that it was impossible to get to any of the sets. So after that, it was hard getting out last night, so we thought, might as well just get out of there,” said John McGuire.

“They will refund us the money that we spent, so I’m fine as long as we’re safe, so we’re good,” said Cicero Clamor.

The festival put out a statement around 6:30 p.m. saying in part,

“It is with deep regret that we need to inform you that due to the challenges caused by Friday cancelation, we have reached our venue’s capacity earlier than anticipated for today, Sunday. For the safety and well-being of everyone on site, we will not be admitting any additional attendees today.”

The statement went on to say it promises to refund their money and make it up to the fans.

Fans expressed outrage on social media were upset not just with the lack of capacity, but the lack of security, and are wondering how it will do that.

There is no word if there were any injuries. No arrests were made.

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