Two people who attended the Mad Decent Block Party in Columbia, Maryland, over the weekend have died. A total of 20 people were hospitalized in connection with the touring, all-day event, which featured sets from Sleigh Bells, Mad Decent label boss Diplo and others. Festival organizers have expressed their sadness over the events, which come amid a string of other hospitalizations and deaths this summer festival season.
One of the people who died was a 17-year-boy who has been identified by police only as rising senior at Virginia’s Hylton High School, according to InsideNova.com. Tyler Fox Viscardi, a 20-year-old from North Carolina, also died after the Mad Decent Block Party, according to CBS DC. Police reportedly suspected drugs were involved in many of the hospitalizations.
Mad Decent tweeted: “Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by yesterday’s event. We are saddened by the news.” Diplo tweeted: “Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by yesterday’s event. We are truly devastated.” Seth Hurwitz of the venue, Merriweather Post Pavilion, said in a statement to the Baltimore Sun, “Our hearts go out to the family as they face the unimaginable,” and also pointed out the difficulty in convincing young people that drugs can hurt them.
This weekend, Mad Decent Block Party is scheduled to visit Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Boston.
Federal prosecutors recently charged a man with selling drugs that allegedly resulted in one of the two deaths that forced New York City’s three-day Electric Zoo festival to end a day early last year. Earlier this summer, a 20-year-old man died at the Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, Michigan, according to Fox 17 Michigan. Only days earlier, dozens were hospitalized at an Avicii concert in Boston, as CNN reported.
Such incidents have helped spur discussion of Molly, or MDMA, and the resurgence of electronic dance music; a June piece in The New York Times does a good job of rounding up various perspectives. Tragically, though, no single music genre or intoxicant seems to have a monopoly on horrific events. As the Boston Herald reports, an 18-year-old has been charged with rape and there were 22 reported hospitalizations at a recent Keith Urban concert.
Read Merriweather Post Pavilion operator Hurwitz’s full statement below.
Our hearts go out to the family as they face the unimaginable. As a parent, it makes me horribly sad beyond words to think of a tragedy like this. We can spend every minute of the day making perfect sense to our children regarding the obvious perils of drugs, but sometimes it is impossible to convince them that this is relevant to their world. Youth feel invulnerable. Some refuse to believe they could be affected.
This drug epidemic is no longer confined to specific demographics, or time of day, or geography, or lifestyle. It’s just everywhere and, and unfortunately, this generation of teens and 20-somethings has not learned this lesson yet. It’s just heartbreaking. This particular type of incident is not the problem of those who should have known better…it’s the problem of those too young to believe it could happen to them. Sadly we find ourselves in the classic position of trying to tell kids not to do something they think is fun.