Sunday, 5 October 2014

SXSW too big for Austin?

A report by SXSW's own consultants say that the event may have outgrown Austin. South By Southwest, the world's leading showcase event had engaged Populous concluded that, with SXSW's continued rapid growth, various issues need to be addressed by the city to ensure the continued smooth running of the event. According to Texas monthly, the report states that "like any business they [SXSW management] will eventually need to make decisions about whether or not they can continue to exist in their current format and location", adding that SXSW may well "have no choice but to entertain notions of bidding their event to other cities to sustain their business model". Elsewhere in the Populus report there are new proposals to ensure crowd safety including banning buskers from playing while the festival is on, and restricting events that take place near carparks. Another proposal is the creation of a so called 'clean zone' which would be under SXSW's control. 
SXSW organisers said in a statement: "We've been careful not to say anything that implies we're trying to ban unofficial events because, even if we could, we wouldn't try to do that. We totally get that unofficial events are part of the appeal of SXSW, though the line between 'official' and 'unofficial' can be hard to distinguish" before adding "But unofficial events need to be managed so to ensure overall safety" and "What we're asking the city to do is put a limit on the number of permits issued for events that require temporary permits, based on location, capacity and infrastructure. The majority of the unofficial events are in existing businesses and this would not affect them" stressing crowd safety was their main consideration.

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