Spring festival season is here: what you need to know

SXSW, Rodeo Austin, ABC Kite Festival, NASCAR, Texas Relays, and more! March is a busy month in the City of Austin.

Austin police and EMS gave further safety information on March 9.

City leaders initially provided an update on March 6 with what you need to know before Spring Festival Season kicks off this week.

"Of course, we're very, very excited to host South by Southwest, the festival that has made Austin famous across the globe," said Austin Mayor Kirk Watson. "As we welcome all of these visitors, and we plan for these events, which add to our vibrant city and bolster our economy, we recognize it puts an added strain on City resources."

Watson said with the additional traffic and crowds there's a heightened need for vigilance when it comes to safety and security.

Austin Transportation Department

Downtown Austin is busy during Spring Festival Season. Expect delays in the area from the increased congestion. 

If you're not attending the festival and have the ability to telework, the City is encouraging you to do so.

There will be several road closures and detours. The city has provided a map of the street closures which also includes information about parking areas for scooters and shared bicycles, ride-share staging areas and public transit stops.

If attendees drink at Spring Festival events, it is important that they to plan to get home safe.

People who leave their parked vehicles overnight, get a safe ride home after drinking, and receive a citation, may be eligible to get the parking ticket waived. Just save the receipt from your safe ride home and fill out the online Get Home Safe Ticket Waiver Form.

Austin Police Department

A no-refusal DWI enforcement initiative will begin on March 9 and run evenings and nights through March 19.

There will be lots of pedestrians downtown. Drivers should be careful. Additional officers will also be assisting at some intersections to manage pedestrian traffic.

Human trafficking is always a concern, but especially during large-scale events. For more information about human trafficking, including signs for spotting it and prevention, visit texasattorneygeneral.gov

Pay attention to your surroundings, especially in crowds. If you see something, say something.

Austin-Travis County EMS

Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) will have multiple dedicated response units and personnel assigned to the downtown area to respond to calls.

The ATCEMS Patient Collection Point will be in operation from Tuesday, March 14 through Saturday, March 18 from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. daily.

Austin Fire Department

The Austin Fire Department’s (AFD) Special Events division will be working to ensure venues operate safely.

The focus will be on inspections for overcrowding as well as general fire- and life-safety issues, including locked/blocked/obstructed exits, and complaint calls.

AFD will also be performing public assembly permit and night inspections and performing fire watch when needed.

Austin Public Health

While COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Austin-Travis County area are trending downwards, the virus is still present in the community.

Austin Public Health says to lower your risk, you should get vaccinated and wear a mask during travel and in crowds.

Austin Parks and Recreation

Leave No Trace to protect Austin’s parks, trails, and green spaces. When visiting:

  • Respect other visitors.
  • Take trash, leftover food, and pet waste with you when you leave Austin’s green spaces.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Dress for the weather.
  • Bring bags for pet waste, scoop the poop, and dispose of bags in designated areas.
  • For more information visit AustinTexas.gov/LeaveNoTrace.