SXSW Attendee Safety Resources

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

SXSW's Communicable Illness guidelines can be found below. These guidelines are subject to change and may include a mask policy, and may require that attendees submit proof of a negative test (or full vaccination instead of a negative test) in order to collect and maintain credentials, subject to then current applicable laws and public health guidance.

This page will be updated. Please check back regularly - contents are subject to change.


Covid-19 Guidelines

Updated 1.27.2023

The safety of our SXSW community continues to be a top priority. As we did in 2022, we will liaise with local health authorities regarding our on-site precautions and mitigations applicable or necessary for SXSW 2023, including the Austin Public Health Guidelines for Special Events.

SXSW 2023 Guidelines:

  • Covid-19 Vaccinations, and applicable boosters, are recommended for all attendees and participants.
  • We strongly recommend that you self-test before attending SXSW.
  • Masks will be available at SXSW Information and Accessibility Desks, and are encouraged.
  • We plan to have Covid-19 home antigen tests available for sale on-site. Quantities may vary.
  • Testing is available for low or no-cost at the following: CVS Health, Walgreens, Tarrytown Pharmacy, and Local Health Centers (please call ahead to make an appointment).
  • Further local testing information can be found at the Texas health department's website.

We ask that all attendees and participants follow our Health Pledge.

You are committed to:

  • Practicing respiratory etiquette, such as masking and / or covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Exercising good hygiene, such as frequently washing or sanitizing your hands.
  • Staying up to date with the CDC’s recommendations for Covid-19 vaccinations and boosters approved by the CDC for travel to the US.

You will not work or attend any SXSW affiliated event if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not completed the CDC’s guidelines for discontinuing isolation.
  • You are experiencing symptoms consistent with Covid-19.
  • You have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and you have not completed the Quarantine Guidelines recommended by the CDC.

Emergency and Non-Emergency Contact Information

For emergencies, dial 9-1-1 immediately to contact Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

For non-emergencies, 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.

A full list of Austin Police Department Contacts can be found at: austintexas.gov/page/victim-services-resources

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

Safety

Always exercise common sense and good judgment when traveling and attending events in Austin. Here are some ways to do that:

General Safety

  • If you see someone acting suspicious or see something suspicious, say something. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Know where you are. Note street addresses or cross streets.
  • Look out for others. If you become aware of someone who is ill or needs help, inform a member of venue staff or security, or contact police, fire, or medical personnel. In an emergency, call 9-1-1.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Carry details of any medications and allergies with you.
  • Remain hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Travel in pairs or groups when walking Designate a meeting point, or let others know where you plan to be in the event you become separated from your group.
  • Take a photo or note where your vehicle is parked. 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.

When visiting any venue:

  • Know where you are; the venue name, street address or cross street.
  • Take a moment to identify at least two exit routes from any building or event and emergency exit signs.
  • If an alarm sounds, evacuate immediately. Follow directions from First Responders and venue staff.
  • Do not carry any unnecessary valuables with you.
  • Do not leave drinks unattended, or accept open drinks, or food products from strangers.

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 codes of any electronic devices. 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 dialing 3-1-1. Contact your credit card companies immediately to inform them of your lost cards.

Enjoy your visit! Remember, if you see something, say something. In an emergency, dial 9-1-1.

Covid-19 Guidelines

As we did in 2022, we will work with local health authorities to plan for on-site precautions and mitigations applicable or necessary for SXSW 2023 (including relating to COVID-19 and associated variants) and will keep you informed throughout the season. Stay tuned for more information.

Safety Resources

Suspicious Activity

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

Further advice from Austin Police Department can be found at austintexas.gov/faq/what-terrorism.

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

Emergency Evacuations

In the event of an emergency evacuation, make your way quickly and calmly to an emergency exit. Be aware of any hazards or dangers around you, and proceed to a safe area.

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

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

Open Carry/Weapons Free

SXSW has a weapons free policy. More information on this can be found at SXSW Participation and Credentials Terms and Conditions.

Bag Searches - Travel Light; Leave Bags At Home

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

If you do bring bags, we recommend bringing a small or clear bag containing only essential items. Don’t carry unnecessary valuables with you.

Some events and venues may have stricter entry searches or prohibit certain items. Check with individual venues for their search policy.

SXSW Code Of Conduct

By attending or participating in SXSW, you agree to abide by the SXSW Code of Conduct.

SXSW may take action in its discretion to address any individual(s) or group(s) it believes fail to meet the standards set forth in the SXSW Code of Conduct, including but not limited to revoking the violating parties’ credentials without refund.

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

If you’ve had an unwanted sexual experience, you can also access free and confidential walk-in services, forensic exams, and 24-hour support and information via the SAFE Alliance SAFEline. Call: 512-267-SAFE (7233). Text: 737-888-SAFE (7233). Chat: safeaustin.org/chat. Online: safeaustin.org.

If you have been victim of a sexual assault, contact the Austin Police Department by dialing 9-1-1.

Other Austin Resources

Getting Around

More information on the best ways to get around Austin can be found on our Getting Around SXSW page.

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 and anticipating any delays.

Street Closures

The City of Austin closes various streets in downtown Austin during the Spring Festival Season, which includes SXSW. To help navigate the closures, visit the City of Austin’s Spring Festival Season street closures map.

For more information about the City of Austin’s street closures during SXSW and/or how to obtain Barricade Access Vehicle Passes for commercial deliveries, or other access needs, please visit the Getting Around page.

Mental Health

The Texas DSHS provides guidance for any looking to seek mental health help for themselves or someone else at the following address: https://hhs.texas.gov/services/mental-health-substance-use.

Hospitals

Two hospitals with Emergency Rooms closest to the downtown area 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.

In an emergency always dial 9-1-1.

Weather

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.

In hot, sunny conditions, remember to drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen.

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.

Advice for Touring Bands and Artists

The Event Safety Alliance has produced counter-terrorism advice for touring artists and their crew. A useful guide can be found here.

Accessibility/ADA

More info on Accessibility and ADA can be found here.

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