Dozens of people were hospitalized amid blazing temperatures during an electronic dance music festival in Florida, despite efforts by organizers to keep people cool and hydrated.
Tampa Fire Rescue Department public information officer Jason Penny told ABC News that 32 people were transported to hospitals on Saturday from the 2017 Sunset Music Festival at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa — nearly 10 more than last year.
An additional 65 people were treated on site Saturday, he said. Those who were taken to hospitals were treated for non-life-threatening issues, including dehydration and intoxication, he added.
The Tampa Fire Rescue Department is awaiting final numbers of those hospitalized on Sunday.
According to festival organizers, who cited Tampa Police Department spokespeople, 49 attendees were transported to hospitals during the two-day festival for non-life-threatening issues related to heat, dehydration, alcohol and injury. Preliminary information indicates that very few of those hospitalizations were suspected to be drug related.
The Sunset Music Festival “maintains and strictly enforces a zero-tolerance policy towards illegal drugs,” organizers told ABC News.
“Protecting the health, safety and welfare of our fans and our community is Sunset Music Festival’s top priority,” the festival’s promoter John Santoro said in a statement Monday. “Our increased security measures kept fans safe; additional medical personnel and hydration strategies kept fans healthy. While any medical incidents are unfortunate, we are pleased that all medical incidents at this year’s festival were non-life-threatening and consistent with medical incidents typical to large events.”
This year, organizers offered free water bottles and set up water stations, canopies and a cooling area at the event, which more than 50,000 people were expected to attend. There were increased security measures, including more police officers, both uniformed and undercover, as well as police dogs. The additions were made after two people died last year from apparent overdoses and dozens of others were hospitalized, according to ABC affiliate WFTS in Tampa.
Temperatures in Tampa reached a high of 91 degrees Fahrenheit over Memorial Day weekend — a few degrees hotter than last year, according to meteorologists.
There were 30 felony arrests and 16 misdemeanor arrests at the festival, Tampa Police Department public information officer Stephen Hegarty told ABC News.
That’s 13 more arrests than last year, WFTS reported.
There were 47 ejections from the festival and five citations for possession of marijuana.
But there were no major criminal incidents on either day of the festival, Hegarty said.
Festival organizers told ABC News that there were more arrests this year because the event enforced a zero-tolerance policy.
The lineup for this year’s Sunset Music Festival included electronic musical trios Major Lazer and Above & Beyond.
“Obviously, this is a rave scene, but not everybody does drugs,” Rashad Arjomand, who attended the festival, told WFTS. “Some of us like to come out here and party.”