A man was carried off by security at Ozzfest on Thursday.
Two men died and 83 people were arrested on Thursday at the Ozzfest concert in Holmdel, N.J., as the New Jersey State Police have stepped up security at the PNC Bank Arts Center to combat under-age drinking.
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Raymond Guarino, 26, of Forked River, N.J., and Patrick Norris, 24, of Coram, N.Y., collapsed at the concert and both suffered cardiac arrest. They were pronounced dead at Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel. Friends of the men said that they had taken cocaine, marijuana and alcohol, said Sgt. Stephen Jones, a police spokesman.
The police have made a total of 229 arrests at concerts at the center over the last week, including Ozzfest. Most on Thursday were for under-age drinking, with some for drugs and disorderly conduct; 18 of those arrested were under the age of 18. Under-age drinking in the parking lot has been a persistent problem at the center, and yesterday the police banned alcohol in the parking lot but said that patrons could still buy it inside, where vendors can check for identification.
Live Nation, which books concerts at the center, said in a statement yesterday that it would cooperate with the authorities, but that patrolling the parking lot was not its responsibility.
“Although we do not have jurisdiction over the parking lot,” the statement said in part, “we fully support the decision of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and State Police to ban alcohol on the parking lot premises.”
State Assemblywoman Amy H. Handlin, a Republican whose district includes the arts center, has been pushing for tighter enforcement of alcohol laws since a Gwen Stefani concert there in May at which more than a dozen people under 21 were taken to hospitals for alcohol-related illnesses. She said she had written a letter earlier this week to the state police, the Turnpike Authority and Live Nation, urging them to take greater steps to keep young people from drinking.
“Vigorous law enforcement is necessary but not sufficient,” Ms. Handlin said, “and to make a dent in the under-age drinking issue will take intensive community education as well as parental reinforcement.”
While deaths are not unheard of at large rock festivals, they are unusual at outdoor spaces like the PNC Bank Arts Center, which opened in 1968 as the Garden State Arts Center and has a capacity of 17,500. A spokesman for the Turnpike Authority said that the two deaths on Thursday, when attendance was just over 13,000, were believed to be the center’s first.
Nate Schweber contributed reporting.