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Austin Calls for Less Free Booze, More Enforcement Before the Next SXSW

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Jeff Heimsath for KUT News
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The city says the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will have an expanded presence at this year's South By Southwest.

City of Austin officials are out with their evaluation of this year’s South by Southwest Music Festival. Most of the changes and recommendations involve alcohol consumption and crowds.

A major issue, according to city officials, is over-consumption of free alcohol. The city says next year, a representative from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will be at the South by Southwest command post during the day.

Corporate Special Events Manager for the City of Austin Bill Manno says the commission will do more to educate event organizers about the rules surrounding alcohol.

“They said they would do more outreach to the permit holders to what’s allowed and what’s not allowed -- again the events that supply the free alcohol," Manno said.

The report says the city will also consider limiting the duration of free alcohol availability. The evaluation is based on 850 responses to a city survey about this year’s festival.

In that survey, 45 percent said the city should issue fewer permits. 50 percent of respondents said services that automatically RSVP to free events, such as RSVPster, had a negative impact on festivalgoers.

56 percent of those surveyed said the TABC and venues shouldn't limit the amount or the total hours alcohol is served at venues.

The city report also compiled several months of research, as well as recommendations gathered from meetings with key stakeholders.

Other issues noted were traffic management, citywide capacity for temporary events and crowd management. While some of the recommendations have already been put into effect, others—like more code enforcement officers—require more money. It’s unclear where that funding would come from.

You can view a copy of the city's report in the document viewer below.

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