SXSW Attendee Safety Resources

Attendee Health & Safety 

The following is general health & safety information and not intended to be a comprehensive guide.

Note that the contents of this page are subject to change, and to applicable laws, rules and regulations.

IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION

Emergencies:

Dial 9-1-1 to contact Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Hospitals:

The closest downtown hospitals with emergency room services are:

Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas

1500 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 324-7000

St. David's Medical Center

919 E 32nd St, Austin, TX 78705 (512) 544-7111

If you are outside the downtown area, other hospitals may be closer.

Non-Emergency Assistance

Dial 3-1-1, or contact the Austin Police Department directly by dialing 512-974-5000. The country code for the United States is 001.

The Austin Police Department App can be found at: https://www.austintexas.gov/department/311/smart-phone-app 

HEALTH SAFETY

We ask that all attendees and participants follow the SXSW Health Pledge and exercise personal responsibility when attending SXSW events.

You are committed to:

  • Practicing respiratory etiquette, such as masking (where applicable) and / or covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Exercising good hygiene, such as frequently washing or sanitizing your hands.
  • Following the CDC’s recommendations for protecting yourself from, and reducing the spread of, Covid-19 and other communicable illnesses.
  • Not working or attending any SXSW affiliated event if you have symptoms consistent with Covid-19  and/or have tested positive for Covid-19 and have not completed the CDC’s guidelines for discontinuing isolation.

SAFETY

Use good judgment and exercise personal responsibility when traveling and attending events in Austin. Please consider using the recommended guidance below.

General Advice

  • If you see someone acting suspicious or see something suspicious, say something. Dial 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and what is happening around you. 
  • Know your location, including venue name and address, and cross streets when possible.
  • Look out for others. Help others when safe to do so. If you become aware of someone who is ill or needs help, inform event or venue staff, or someone from Public Safety. In an emergency, dial 9-1-1.

Wellness

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and carrying a reusable water bottle.
  • Keep phones charged and carry any important numbers with you.
  • Carry details of any medications and allergies with you.
  • Be mindful of the weather each day and dress accordingly.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Use sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to protect from the sun.
  • Get an appropriate amount of sleep.

Navigating the Event

  • Walk with a companion or in a group, not alone.
  • Designate a meeting point, or let others know where you plan to be should you become separated from your group.
  • Take a photo or note where your vehicle is parked. Park in a well-lit area and do not park in tow away zones. If your vehicle is towed, you will need a copy of your auto insurance card or registration in your possession in order to retrieve your vehicle. Tow companies will not allow access to your vehicle once it's towed.
  • Be aware of event street closures and lanes of travel that may have temporary directional changes.
  • At peak times, traffic may be heavy and transportation services very busy. We recommend making a plan for how you will get home before heading out.
  • Visit SXSW’s “Getting Around” page for more information on the SXSW Festival Shuttle, local transportation options, and street closures.

Visiting Any Venue

  • Know the venue name, street address and cross street in case of an emergency.
  • Take a moment to identify at least two exit routes from any building or event, and emergency exit signs.
  • Identify a place to shelter in the event of an emergency, or inclement weather.
  • If an alarm sounds, evacuate immediately. Follow directions from venue staff or First Responders, if present.
  • Do not leave drinks unattended, or accept open drinks or food products from strangers.
  • Know entry policies for individual venues by visiting their website.

Emergency Evacuations or Shelter in Place Orders

In the event of an emergency evacuation or shelter in place order, make your way quickly and calmly to an emergency exit or the designated sheltering area. Be aware of any hazards or dangers around you before proceeding.

Follow the direction of venue staff, security personnel and First Responders.

Do not put yourself in danger by stopping to collect belongings unless directed by First Responders.

Protecting Your Property

  • Make a note of your hotel address and store it separately from other items.
  • Never write your hotel room number on your room key.
  • Make a note of the serial numbers of any electronic devices or valuables. Knowing your mobile’s IMEI can help secure your phone if lost or stolen. Support for finding your unique phone IMEI number: http://www.imei.info.
  • If parking, lock your vehicle and never leave valuables or personal items on display.
  • If you lose property such as a purse or wallet containing credit cards, driver's license, Social Security card or passport, file a police report immediately by dialing 3-1-1, or 512-974-2000. Remember to contact your credit card companies or bank immediately to inform them of your lost cards.

Suspicious Activity

SXSW supports the “See Something, Say Something” campaign. For more information, visit dhs.gov/see-something-say-something.

Never leave your bags or possessions unattended. Unattended bags may disrupt events and could be removed, damaged, or destroyed by police or other security personnel.

Weather Awareness

The weather in Austin during March can change rapidly. Make note of local weather forecasts and pay special attention to any weather alerts issued by the National Weather Service.

Details of any active alerts, along with a weather forecast for Austin can be found here.

If it becomes necessary to cancel or postpone any SXSW events due to inclement weather (such as lightning, strong winds, or heavy rains) updates will be issued on SXSW social media channels and through the SXSW GO mobile app. We recommend downloading and following these information sources before leaving home.

EVENT POLICIES

Weapons Free

SXSW is a weapons free event. Please see the SXSW Weapons Free Policy for more information. 

Bag Restrictions & Searches 

We encourage all attendees of the SXSW to travel light and leave valuables at home, or secured in your hotel. 

Bag checks and searches will take place on entry to many events and venues. Not carrying bags will expedite entry.

If you do bring bags, we recommend bringing a small or clear bag containing only essential items. Some events and venues may have stricter entry searches. Check with individual venues for their search policy.

Drone Policy

The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (‘UAVs’) and drones by participants will be prohibited at all official events, subject to our Drone Policy found here: SXSW Drone Policy.

Prohibited Items

In addition to the SXSW Community Concerts at Lady Bird Lake, some events may require additional security measures or restrictions. Check back for updates.

SXSW Code Of Conduct 

SXSW helps creative people achieve their goals. One way we do this is by serving as a platform for engaging, thought-provoking conversations and experiences.

However, SXSW is not a place for behavior that is inappropriate, off-topic, disruptive, abusive, or illegal. 

Please contact conduct@sxsw.com if you believe you’ve observed or experienced a violation of the Code of Conduct, and SXSW will work to assess the situation and to respond as soon as possible. Notifying SXSW does not constitute or replace a notification to local law enforcement.

All suspected violations of the law should be reported to local law enforcement. For emergencies, immediately dial 9-1-1. For non-emergencies, the Austin Police Department is available at 3-1-1 or (512) 974-5000.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

SXSW looks to support its participants by partnering with organizations that can provide a variety of peer to peer, in-person, and online emotional and professional services.

Integral Care

Integral Care’s free 24/7 Helpline provides around the clock emotional support. Their team will listen to you, care about you and support you without judgment. Call 512-472-HELP (4357). Press 1 for English, then 1. They’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No problem is too big or too small. Services are available in multiple languages. Integral Care’s Helpline has been accredited by the American Association of Suicidology since 2008 and takes calls for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

MusiCare’s Safe Harbor Room

The Safe Harbor Room is a place for people in recovery to meet during SXSW. The sessions are informal and supportive. Conferences and large gatherings can be a challenging atmosphere for those who choose sobriety. All are welcome to come to the Safe Harbor Room to meet with like-minded attendees. Safe Harbor sessions will be posted closer to the event.

SAFE Alliance

If you’ve had an unwanted sexual encounter, dating or domestic violence, or sexual exploitation/trafficking, SAFE provides support through our confidential, 24-hour SAFEline. Call: 512-267-SAFE (7233), Text: 737-888-7233, or Chat: safeaustin.org/chat. You don’t have to go to a hospital or talk to the police. Advocacy, free forensic exams, and medical care are available at their clinic. Se habla español.

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.The Lifeline is available for everyone, is free, and confidential. Dial or text 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or text 838255 for the Veterans Crisis Line, visit 988lifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/ to chat online to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or Veterans Crisis Line. For Lifeline options for deaf and hard of hearing, use your preferred relay service or dial 711, then 988.

Fireside Project Psychedelic and Cannabis Support

Real-time support for when time doesn’t seem real. Fireside Project provides free, confidential emotional support during or after psychedelic or cannabis experiences. Open every day from 11am-11pm Pacific Time. Just call or text us at 62-FIRESIDE | 623-473-7433 or download our free mobile app, firesideproject.org/app.

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