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‘Moonrise’ Held Days After Overdose Deaths At Similar Music Festival

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Rick Ritter joined WJZ Eyewitness News in May 2014 as ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Despite a call to cancel it, the massive electronic dance festival “Moonrise” is happening at Pimlico. The concern follows two overdose deaths at a similar festival last week at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Rick Ritter has details.

Some believe it was a dangerous decision to let this festival go on. City leaders say they worked with organizers to go above and beyond with security. It didn’t take long for WJZ to spot fans being transported to the hospital.

Laser lights, pounding beats and a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. Thousands of fans packed Pimlico for Moonrise Festival.

“Good vibes. People dress up. It’s awesome,” said Krystal Arslan, Moonrise attendee.

The event comes just days after tragedy struck at a different music festival–the Mad Decent Block Party at Merriweather Post Pavilion. More than a dozen people were hospitalized and two lost their lives.

Police say some may have overdosed on the club drug “Molly,” pushing anti-drug advocates to call for a cancelation of Moonrise.

“We don’t have people usually die at concerts. They’re dying all over the country. This is a health epidemic,” said substance abuse expert Mike Gimbel.

But the mayor said the weekend show would go on, referring to tighter security.

“I think the smart thing to do is to learn from the incident,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

Just hours into Saturday’s festival, WJZ caught several ambulances leaving Moonrise with fans in the back. Others couldn’t even stand.

Many told WJZ there’s no denying drugs can leak inside, but it’s all about being smart.

“Don’t trust anyone you don’t know. Don’t drink drinks that could have been roofied,” Arslan said.

Some believe when the weekend is all said and done, the end result could be tragic.

“I’m saying let’s prevent it. Let’s save a life,” Gimbel said.

At last check, the Baltimore City Fire Department says it transported seven fans from Moonrise to the hospital.

The Moonrise Festival at Pimlico runs through Sunday night.

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