AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police Chief Brian Manley asked for the public’s help Monday to solve five separate shootings that happened over the weekend.
The separate incidents resulted in the death one person and the injury of several others on the last weekend of South By Southwest.
Manley said while he doesn’t know for sure yet if the suspects actually attended SXSW-related events, he does have concerns about “pop up” events that take place during the festival because some of the shootings happened near the city’s Entertainment District.
“It’s hard to control the unsanctioned pop-up events, and that’s why we do everything we can do to monitor social media to pay attention to those events that are not part of the official activities,” said Manley.
President of the East Sixth Street Community Association Bob Woody told KXAN he knows exactly what Manley means, so he always takes extra steps to ensure he vets the bands he’s booking.
“You look into their music background,” Woody said. “You look and see what their client base is, who they’re bringing, so you’ll know your customer.”
He explained he always turns down 18 and up events. He also increases security during popular events.
For example, during SXSW, Woody said he nearly doubled the number of his security staff at one of his bars.
“We use wands at the door to check people for metal detection. When they see you using that, and they see police officers involved, and they see security in uniform involved and they see you with additional security, when you do that you set a precedent of how you’re running the club right up front.”
City officials said bars don’t need to obtain permits to host unofficial events as long as the bar’s maximum capacity isn’t changing.
The unofficial events can be open to the public even though some room may be reserved for badge holders.
According to Manley, most events are planned weeks in advance, but the ones that happen at the last minute can cause problems.
“We have in the past become aware of an artist or a group that was going to come to town and has a following that has a history in prior cities, prior concerts, having significant violence associated with them.”
Manley said as city officials get together to review how South By Southwest went this year, he wants them to review how unofficial events are organized, as well as the police department’s staffing.
According to a website that helps people prepare for South By Southwest, the total number of events that take place during SXSW has been increasing.
They listed 1,027 events this year. 625 of them were unofficial.
They also pointed out there were fewer events during the music weekend, compared to the interactive weekend.
Between Friday March 8 and Sunday March 11, Festival Saviors posted 353 events.
Between Thursday March 14 and Saturday March 16, they posted 329 events.