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September 04. 2013 9:28PM

No rave in at Verizon in Manchester, Mayor Gatsas says

MANCHESTER — Verizon Wireless Arena cancelled this month's rave concert by Barstool Blackout Tour amid city concerns over abuse of the club drug "Molly" that is suspected in the deaths of two New Hampshire university students in Boston and New York in the last eight days.

"They were certainly a concern," Mayor Ted Gatsas said Wednesday of the Barstool Blackout Tour, which describes itself on its web site as the "world's largest blacklight party taking over one college at a time" and promotes its concerts as "an absolutely orgy of sound and light for all your senses."

Gatsas confirmed arena General Manager Tim Bechert notified him Tuesday the Sept. 28 concert is cancelled.

"I thanked him for his efforts," the mayor said. Bechert did not return several calls for comment.

"The Verizon Wireless center does a great job and we have a great partnership with them. I would never try to influence him about his shows, but we certainly did talk," the mayor said.

The mayor said he met with Bechert in the last week and the concert "just came up in general conversation." Gatsas said he discussed concerns over "Molly," a form of the hallucinogenic drug Ecstasy. The drug is believed to be responsible for the deaths of Plymouth State University sophomore Brittany Flannigan, 19, of Derry (see related story, Page A5) at the House of Blues nightclub in Boston on Aug. 28 and University of New Hampshire junior Olivia Rotondo, 20, of North Providence, R.I. at a New York City concert Saturday.

The drug, also known as the "love drug" or "hug drug," is popular among 18- to 25-year-old students and associated with electronic music concerts, or "DJ parties," because it reportedly enhances the effect of the light and music, law enforcement officials said.

Molly, short for molecule, is considered to be pure MDMA, unlike Ecstasy.

Manchester police contacted police in East Stroudsburg, Pa. and Burlington, Vt., where Barstool Blackout Tour recently performed, Lt. Maureen Tessier said. This is routinely done to determine what type of security detail would be needed for the concert, she said.

Tessier said the two agencies reported the Barstool Blackout Tour resulted in a lot of young people who were impaired to the point they couldn't care of themselves, she said.

Manchester police planned to recommend a larger police security detail than normal, but also a greater emergency medical presence at the concert site. East Stroudsburg police said several concert-goers had to be transported to the hospital.

kmarchocki@unionleader.com


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