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SXSW Safety

Is SXSW safe? City asks you to weigh in on official festival evaluation

Crash in downtown Austin during SXSW
SXSW safety is of top priority for the City of Austin.  Photo courtesy of KVUE News

A full-scale analysis of SXSW is currently underway after a resolution was approved 7-0 by the Austin City Council on March 27. The approval came just two weeks after Austin was rattled by the Red River incident where Rashad Owens allegedly drove through a crowd of SXSW attendees, killing four and injuring many others. 

The 90-day evaluation will take a comprehensive look at SXSW, reviewing everything from crowd control to event sprawl — and now you have a chance to weigh in. 

 "The City of Austin and its affected departments estimate that necessary changes will need to be made to ensure safety for all upcoming festival events." 

As part of the initiative, the City of Austin has created an online survey where locals can provide feedback regarding SXSW 2014 and other large-scale festivals.

"The City of Austin and its affected departments estimate that necessary changes will need to be made to ensure safety for all upcoming festival events," states the website. "City staff has been asked to compile community feedback on events taking place during SXSW festival for a post event evaluation."

The survey, which can be completed confidentially by April 18, covers general festival infrastructure as well as specific questions related to SXSW. The public is asked to share thoughts on a variety of festival programming elements, including permitting, distribution of the city's resources, and adequate street closures. 

Locals can also weigh in on everything from issuing fewer permits during peak festival seasons, to limiting events to one area of downtown. Community feedback will be incorporated into the report, which will include the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission's look into alcohol-related issues and the Urban Transportation Commission's findings regarding traffic management.

City Manager Mike Ott is expected to present the findings to City Council later this year. 

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