SXSW organisers confirm they are not trying to ban unofficial fringe events

A previous report from events firm Populous had implied the idea would be advisable

SXSW have confirmed that they are not trying to ban unofficial events from next year’s festival.

The event, which takes place annually in Austin, Texas, USA suffered a blow when four attendees were killed in a car crash last year and a safety report by events firm Populous had suggested that a ban on unofficial events could prevent further incidents.

Unofficial, pop-up events form a large part of the festival.

SXSW have now released a statement clarifying their position on the matter, which states that they will be implementing certain new safety measure but will not be imposing a ban on these gigs.

The statement reads: “We’ve been careful not to say anything that implies we’re trying to ban unofficial events because, even if we could, we wouldn’t try to do that. We totally get that unofficial events are part of the appeal of SXSW, though the line between “official” and “unofficial” can be hard to distinguish.”

It continues: “The Populous report is their expert assessment and opinion, not ours, and we agree with most of it, but not all of it. In our own statements we’ve been careful not to imply a threat to relocate SXSW, and have also explicitly stated that is not our position numerous times.”

“What we’re asking the City to do is put a limit on the number of permits issued for events that require temporary permits, based on location, capacity and infrastructure. The City did that for the first time this past year, and we think it was a common sense move that should be a standard procedure. Parts of 6th Street are severely overcrowded and can’t support more pop-up events. The majority of the unofficial events are in existing businesses and this would not affect them.”

“The most important part of what we’re asking for is a comprehensive safety plan that will include not just SXSW events, but every other significant activity downtown during our event. Marketing companies are fond of the tactic of keeping everything a secret until the last minute to avoid scrutiny. SXSW, the unofficial events, and the City all need transparency in order to plan for safety properly.”

SXSW will take place from March 13-17, 2015