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Sunset Music Festival has fewer medical emergencies on Day 2

A Tampa Fire Rescue all-terrain vehicle patrols the parking area north of Raymond James Stadum on Sunday, day two of the Sunset Music Festival. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]

A Tampa Fire Rescue all-terrain vehicle patrols the parking area north of Raymond James Stadum on Sunday, day two of the Sunset Music Festival. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
Published May 30, 2017

TAMPA — The music was just as loud and the fans danced just as hard, but the second day of the Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium was calmer than the first in one respect: medical emergencies.

After 32 concertgoers were taken from the festival to a local hospital Saturday, 17 had to be transported to an emergency medical facility Sunday, Tampa Fire Rescue spokesperson Jason Penny said.

None was in critical condition either day, he said.

St. Joseph's Hospital treated a total of 27 people over the two days — all for drug or alcohol intoxication. Hospital spokeswoman Beverly Littlejohn said none had to be admitted overnight.

In a prepared statement, the festival wrote that "preliminary information indicates that very few transports were suspected to be drug-related."

The 49 people transported to a hospital over both days is eight fewer than in 2016.

During last year's festival, two people died from abuse of the drug ecstasy, and a combination of heat, drugs and alcohol sent 57 others to the hospital.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn spoke out against the city hosting the festival again this year. But the Tampa Sports Authority, which operates Raymond James Stadium, agreed to allow promoters to hold it in a parking area north of the stadium.

Promoters provided more shaded areas and free water this year, along with a heavier police and emergency medical presence.

On Sunday night, Fire Rescue's Penny said that "due to this mitigation, (the festival has) seen marked improvement over the last year."

The totals on police activity: Thirty felony arrests, 10 on Saturday and 20 on Sunday; 16 misdemeanor arrests, 11 on Saturday and five on Sunday; 47 ejections, 32 on Saturday and 15 on Sunday; and five marijuana civil citations, all on Saturday. Most of the felony arrests were for possession of the mood-altering drug MDMA, also known as molly or ecstasy, police said.

The 46 total arrests are up from 33 last year. Festival promoters attributed that to a "zero-tolerance policy."

"SMF pays for all medical and safety resources, at and beyond the levels prescribed to us … in order to meet anticipated festival demands and not overtax city resources," said John Santoro, the festival promoter.

Police officials said 19,149 attended the festival on Saturday and 19,873 on Sunday. But Evan Bailey, a spokesman for co-organizers Disco Donnie Presents, said when the guest list and VIP tickets are added in, attendance was over 25,000 on Saturday and more than 24,000 on Sunday.

Times Pop Music/Culture Critic Jay Cridlin contributed to this report. Contact Paul Guzzo at pguzzo@tampabay.com. Follow @PGuzzoTimes.