AUSTIN (KXAN) – The City of Austin reached the maximum number of applications it will accept for permitted events during the time South by Southwest will be in town.
The city will no longer accept applications for temporary use permits, temporary event sound permits, temporary change of use permits and occupant loads for Austin events planned during this time, including events associated with SXSW for March 7 to 14, 2014.
The Austin Center for Events made this decision to make sure there are enough resources available to inspect and manage the events during the SXSW time period.
“We want to make sure that these events are inspected correctly, that they follow code,” said William Manno, Commander with Austin Police Department. “The whole objective is to have a more enjoyable event for the people and the participants that come down.”
The Austin Center for Events is a collaborative office comprised of teams from Austin Police, Austin Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Austin Transportation departments, along with the music and entertainment division.
The number of applications received to date for SXSW 2014 already surpassed the total number of events last year.
“It allows us to not just take in applications, but to actually look at them so that we can plan and coordinate more effectively,” said Cmdr. Wesley Hopkins with Travis County EMS. “By having the permitting in place it allows us to see where the density of crowd is going to be.”
Among temporary use, temporary change of use, and music permits, the city is considering 284 applications. Last year, city officials approved 240 permits.
In the downtown area alone there are 190 bars and clubs expected to be at capacity and 148 temporary events on top of that. A majority of the temporary events won’t be set up and ready for inspection until the day before or day of the event.
“We’re also seeing an increase of more and more non-permitted events, so there will be more of a focus on enforcement for non-permitted events this year,” said Manno. He says APD will have an increased staff to monitor crowds throughout the city.