In five years, a lot has changed when it comes to public safety at SXSW.
On March 13, 2014, police attempted to pull over 21-year-old Rashad Owens for a minor traffic violation.
The drunk Owens didn't stop. He drove through barricades and crashed into a crowd of people on Red River, killing 4 and injuring 24.
Owens was convicted of capital murder. He's currently serving a life sentence.
"From that incident we've started putting patrol cars, vehicles, in front of just the flimsy barricades that shut down streets," said Assistant Austin Police Chief Justin Newsom.
Newsom says water barricades have challenges. They have to be emptied and re-filled just to move them back and forth.
"If an ambulance or a fire truck has to get through, the officer at that location can jump in and get the car out of the way," Newsom said.
Over the last couple of years when Austin Police Ford Explorers were pulled because of carbon monoxide leaks, APD would use those as barricades.
"This year we were actually facing some difficulty in finding enough patrol cars because we still have a city to run," he said.
Newsom says the Texas Department of Public Safety stepped up and let them borrow 30 of their patrol cars, so he says at each barricade there will be an APD patrol car and DPS.
Newsom points out their barricade methodology is not just to keep out the drunk drivers. It's also to prevent intentional vehicle-born terror attacks that have happened elsewhere around the globe.
"It's a real concern, it's a real thing that we think about when you have so many people, such a high profile event,” he said. “It's no secret that it would be a plum target for someone that had ill intentions.”
The City of Austin has an interactive map of festival street closures.
"The main point especially if you're driving downtown is to pack your patience. Because it obviously is a mess. There's no way that you can close down the majority of the streets in any downtown and not create traffic mobility challenges," Newsom said.
Speaking of patience, Austin doesn't appear to have it. According to data released this week from GasBuddy, Austin ranks 9th in the country for the most aggressive drivers.
Iverson J. Lunsford and musician “The HazEffect” came in from Atlanta to promote their label. When asked about the traffic, they said they’re getting around town in a 15-passenger Sprinter van.
But they've seen the gridlock firsthand from that van. They've got some advice for their fellow festival-goers.
"When you're walking, try to stay out of your phone,” they said. “Don't really be giving it too much attention because you need to be looking around. Any given moment somebody might be drunk or just not paying attention.”