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Too Many SXSW Events? City Stops Accepting Permit Applications Before Deadline

For the first time ever, the City has stopped accepting permit applicationsfor the week of South by Southwest before the actual application deadline.

The application cut-off announced this morning applies to all temporary use, temporary change of use, and music permits. 

Multi-day permit applications have a deadline of one month before the event, so the city’s early cut-off only shortened that application window by one day.

People seeking single-day permits, however, would otherwise have had a full week left to get their applications in, because the deadline for those permits is normally 21 days before the event date.

Police Commander William Manno cited an increased volume of applications as the main reason for the early cut-off, and said there are only so many emergency personnel available to deal with such a large event.

“There’s so many event applications coming in,” Manno said, “We just have to do it so we can effectively manage and have a safer environment for all the participants.”

Last year there were 240 permits approved for the week of SXSW. At the time of this morning’s announcement, the city had already received 248 applications. Most of those events are not put on by SXSW, but by other organizations such as music labels and technology companies trying to make a splash during the conference.

Manno said one alternative for people who missed this year’s early cut-off is to seek out businesses that already have public assembly permits and host their events there. Provided the business does not make any structural changes, such as adding a stage, no further permitting or inspections would be required.

Non-permitted events have been a problem in the past, but Manno says they plan to enforce permit restrictions more strictly this year. 

“We’ve increased our public assembly code enforcement teams – or PACE teams this year,” he said. “Plus, we’ve added extra enforcement teams for APD to look at those types of issues.”

Manno acknowledged the early cut-off could result in more people holding non-permitted events, but he says they are trying to spread the word about the increased enforcement.

As SXSW and the events surrounding it continue to grow, the volume of applications could become a reoccurring issue. One of the goals of the early application cut-off is to encourage event planners to get their applications in as early as possible.

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