Now that SXSW 2011 is over, organizers of the festival are talking about improvements and one of those changes may be the number of free shows offered. A series of unfortunate events took place in Austin, TX this past week while the festival was going on and officials can’t help but notice that they all took place at the free concerts.
Free afternoon shows have been a staple of the annual music gathering in Austin for years, according to MTV News, drawing huge crowds that line up hours ahead of time for a chance to see a buzz band or a major act in an intimate setting.
Several people were injured due to crowds becoming too large and riots breaking out from people pushing and shoving to get to the stage. Organizers think this happens because no tickets are given out so they cannot regulate the amount of people that show up for the free acts.
One of the scariest incidents occurred at a showcase at 1 a.m. on Saturday night, when fans standing behind a fence by the Beauty Bar pushed on the barrier during a surprise show by Death From Above 1979. Bassist Jesse Keeler warned the excited onlookers that if they broke down the fence the show would end. Just one song later, the fence was pushed in, resulting, according to the venue’s website, in a full-on riot.
Wow! That is scary. What do you think SXSW organizers should do to keep things like this under control?