AUSTIN (KXAN) — On what would typically be one of the biggest nights for South by Southwest concerts, this year, the virtual sights and sounds completely changed the experience.

But that could be different next year.

“Everyone is hoping and hopeful that we will be together in some capacity with people in Austin,” said Katie Perera, conference programmer at SXSW.

Austin Film Festival organizers say they are going live in October, and according to its site, Austin City Limits Music Festival is too. That’s providing a little hope for some companies like LD Systems.

“For ACL we handle all the audio that you see on the stages and the main stages, the lighting, and we work with the artists and designers,” said Tony Carey, director of Business Development at LD Systems.

Courtesy: LD Systems

The company not only participated in ACL Fest, but also SXSW, Rodeo Austin, COTA-Formula One and larger events like the Super Bowl, Lollapalooza and the Final Four.

He says his industry was the first to shut down in the pandemic, and now one of the last to come back as they wait for a green light for gatherings.

Courtesy: LD Systems

“Our business is entertaining the masses, but there are no mass gatherings… but we also quickly adapted,” Carey said.

They, like many others, are cautiously hopeful with local health leaders’ latest prediction.

“When we look forward to the fall, September, October and November, it seems likely at this stage that events in that kind of time frame will be normal or near normal,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County interim health authority.

The City of Austin has updated guidelines and protocols for indoor and outdoor venues, including:

  • All venues and events should consider having at least one designated isolation room or area. An isolation room or area gives the venue the ability to quickly isolate and remove a person who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms during an event. This space should be back of house when possible and easy to sanitize and disinfect. We recommend designating isolation rooms or areas near venue exits to provide medical personnel access to individuals who need medical attention or ambulance transport.
  • All venues and event producers must develop case notification plans to comply with APH requirements for contract tracing. Venues, event organizers and individual participants should report positive cases to APH.
  • A Safety Coordinator is recommended for all indoor venues and required for outdoor events permitted by Austin Center for Events. The purpose of a Safety Coordinator is to ensure compliance and oversee enforcement of the venue’s COVID-19 health and safety plan. The Safety Coordinator should be trained in COVID-19 safety protocols and able to ensure the elements of the health and safety plan are upheld during the event.