Earlier this week, Austin City Council Member and mayoral candidate Mike Martinez announced he would bring forth a resolution asking for an official evaluation of SXSW. On Thursday, March 27, the City Council voted 7-0 to approve the resolution, paving the way for City Manager Marc Ott to helm a 90-day analysis of everything from crowd control to event sprawl.
Martinez defended his decision saying, "I think it’s time we take a comprehensive look at how SXSW weaves into the fabric of the city every year, and consider whether there are steps we could and should take as a city to help ensure the festival’s sustainable success — not just for organizers and attendees, but for everyone in the community who’s impacted."
During the evaluation, the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission will look into alcohol-related issues, the City will hold public forums for neighborhoods most affected by SXSW, and the Urban Transportation Commission will oversee traffic management related to the event.
After a particularly chaotic SXSW, one that received international criticism, it appears Martinez's fellow council members agree, passing the resolution unanimously.
SXSW was quick to respond to the news, sending a statement via email saying,
We fully support this 360-degree examination of the ways in which the City of Austin, SXSW and all involved parties can better improve the event. It's a terrific initiative, and we're eager to incorporate the results to produce the best possible event for all SXSW attendees — global and local alike. We look forward to the discussion and ongoing collaboration.
The resolution passed just moments before it was announced that a fourth victim died from injuries sustained after Rashad Owens allegedly plowed a car into a crowd of revelers on Red River Street during the festival. De'Andre Tatum was pronounced dead on March 27 University Medical Center Brackenridge, where he had been in a medically induced coma since the accident. Tatum was just 18 years old.