Promoter promises safety changes ahead of Sunset Music Festival

- The controversial Sunset Music Festival will return to Tampa this weekend.

Last year, two concert-goers died of an overdose after attending the electronic music festival.

Coroners found ecstasy in the systems of both Katie Bermudez, 21, of Kissimmee, and Alex Haynes, 22, of Melbourne.

Emergency medical crews had to rush 57 people to area hospitals for heat and drug abuse.

Ahead of the 2017 event, organizers said their top priority would be new and improved safety measures.

"We have a zero tolerance policy as it relates to drugs," said Todd Josko, spokesperson for the Sunset Music Festival.   "The overwhelming majority of our attendees, they're not there to do drugs or anything else illegal for that matter. They're there to hear great music and have a great time."

Josko said in addition to hiring more off-duty Tampa Police officers and Tampa Fire Rescue personnel, at the request of the Tampa Sports Authority, event organizers are finding more ways for people to avoid dehydration at the two-day event.

"We're trying to keep everyone hydrated through our water stations, our shaded areas and our cooling tents," said Josko.

Tampa Police said the music festival hires its own security, but they're encouraging anyone planning to attend to keep illegal substances out of the event.

"Our message, and I think the promoter's message, is to celebrate safe. Don't do any drugs, don't bring any drugs in, because you will get arrested," said Tampa Police Spokesperson Steve Hegarty.

The Sunset Music Festival has been a staple at Raymond James Stadium since 2012. Last year's concert attracted more than 51,000 people.

The two-day festival runs from 3 p.m. to midnight both Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, visit https://smftampa.com/

 

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