Safety is a top priority for SXSW. We work closely with local, state, and federal agencies year-round to plan for a safe event.
Updated March 2, 2020. Regarding the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: SXSW is working closely on a daily basis with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event. As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of Austin Public Health, the 2020 event is proceeding with safety as a top priority.
For more information, please see our COVID-19 Attendee Information page.
The following is general safety information and not intended to be a comprehensive guide.
This page may be updated. Please check back regularly – contents are subject to change.
Emergency and Non-Emergency Contact Information
For all emergencies, contact Police, Fire, and EMS by dialing 9-1-1.
For non-emergencies dial 3-1-1, or contact the Austin Police Department directly at 512-974-5000.
A full list of Austin Police Department Contacts can be found at: http://austintexas.gov/page/victim-services-resources
The Austin Police Department App can be found at: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-pd-smartphone-app
Always exercise common sense and good judgment when traveling and attending events in Austin. Here are some ways to do that:
- If you see someone acting suspicious or see something suspicious, say something. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
- Know where you are.
- 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. If you end up losing your group, identify a meeting point or let someone know where you plan to be.
- Take a photo or note where you’re parking your vehicle. Refrain from parking in tow away zones. If vehicle is towed make sure you have a copy of your auto insurance card or registration document in your possession showing proof. Tow companies will not allow you in a vehicle once it’s towed.
When you are at any venue:
- Know where you are.
- 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.
- Don’t leave drinks unattended, or accept open drinks, or food products from strangers.
Protecting your property:
- Make a note of your hotel address and store 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:
- 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 cards or passport, file a report immediately calling 311 and cancel cards immediately.
Enjoy your visit and when in doubt, in an emergency call 9-1-1.
SXSW supports the See Something, Say Something campaign. For more information on this visit https://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something.
Further advice from Austin Police Department can be found at https://www.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.
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 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 https://www.sxsw.com/weapons-free-policy/.
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 small or clear bags 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.
Code Of Conduct
By attending or participating in SXSW, you agree to abide by the 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 this Code of Conduct, including but not limited to revoking the violating parties’ credentials without refund.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you believe you’ve observed or experienced a violation of this 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: www.safeaustin.org.
If you have been victim of a sexual assault, contact the Austin Police Department on 9-1-1.
Other Austin Resources
More information on the best ways to get around Austin can be found on our Getting Around SXSW EDU 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.
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.
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
St. David’s Medical Center
919 E 32nd St, Austin, TX 78705
If you are outside the downtown area, other hospitals may be closer.
In an emergency always dial 9-1-1.
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 conditions, remember to drink plenty of water.
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 EDU mobile app. We recommend downloading these before leaving home.
Advice for Touring Bands and Artists
More info on Accessibility and ADA can be found here.