Before CDC guidance, Hill Country festivals operated as normal


Earth Art Fest in Llano last year. (KXAN photo)

CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — KXAN received several complaints from viewers concerned about several large gatherings — from Round Rock to Llano — that happened over the weekend, ahead of the CDC’s guidance to postpone or cancel a mass gathering.

In Llano, the Earth Art Fest drew around 4,000 people between March 13-15, but Ron Anderson, who’s on the festival’s committee, said everyone was “hyper aware” of the situation. That included hand sanitizing stations and vendors wearing gloves.

Festival attendance was down almost 50%, too.

“We were happy to shut it down [Monday] after that edict from the CDC,” Anderson said, also noting he had been in contact with state health officials for the last three weeks leading up to the festival. “We did as much as we could to ensure the public health — and attendance was down — but it was still good.”

KXAN also fielded questions about the Austin Music and Arts Festival in Round Rock, which took place between March 14-15. The festival’s website noted that the odds of contracting any virus was “zero.” We’ve reached out to festival organizers for comment.

A screenshot from the Austin Music and Arts Festival website.

Deb Strahler, a spokeswoman with the Williamson County and Cities Health District, said nothing had been enacted prior to this event.

“The County had not enacted a mass gathering limit prior to that event, so they were not in violation of any order, and while it was a poor choice of description, WCCHD does not have authority to monitor language,” Strahler said.

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