Austin, Texas, is well known for its numerous annual events and festivals. The Austin Marathon attracts 20,000 participants annually from around the world. The Old Settler’s Music Festival has been one of the best bluegrass, Americana, and roots music events in the country for the past 30 years. The Austin City Limits Music Festival averages roughly 70,000 attendees per day. There truly is something for anyone and everyone.
At Sandoval & James, we want you to stay as safe as possible during such events. Large crowds may present dangers you wouldn’t otherwise consider. This article will discuss what you can bring, do, and avoid to stay as safe as possible at Austin, Texas events.
Why Event Safety Matters
Public events like sporting events, concerts, state fairs, protests, parades, and festivals are likely to attract large crowds. These events may also attract criminal activity such as theft and assault. While much of event safety planning is the responsibility of the event organizers, you should always be prepared to protect yourself and your family. It’s better to prevent an injury than deal with the stress and worry of caring for an injured loved one.
What to Bring to Austin Festivals and Events to Stay Safe
Your event safety checklist should start with the items you can bring to protect yourself and your family. Before attending the event, read the venue and organizer guidelines for what items are allowed. For example, some venues may only allow attendees to bring empty water bottles, while others may ban any water bottles entirely.
Your list will change based on the location and nature of the event, but below is a list of protection and safety items you may decide to bring. Please note these are recommendations only.
- Water bottle. Wherever possible, you should bring water. Ensure that you and your family remain hydrated, especially at outdoor events like parades or protests. The average summer temperature in Austin is over 90°, and dehydration is one of the most prevalent dangers that many attendees forget.
- First aid kit. You may decide to find a personal first aid kit to bring into the event or leave a larger one in your car. Take some time to review the kit contents and learn how to treat minor injuries such as scrapes, burns, bruises, cuts, and sprains.
- Communication devices. If you separate from your group in a large crowd, ensure you have a way to contact them. Many people carry cell phones, but you may also decide to bring walkie-talkies or another radio communication device, especially if you’re in an area with weak cell service.
- Emergency kit. In the event of an emergency, keeping an emergency kit in your car can help you stay calm and keep your family safe. Consider keeping a blanket, flashlight, extra batteries, jumper cables, tool kit, cell phone charger, duct tape, and a rain poncho in your vehicle.
- Self-protection weapon. If you prefer to carry a weapon with you to protect your family against potential assault, ensure you understand all the laws and venue regulations for concealed or open carry firearms. According to austintexas.gov, firearms are prohibited from high school, college, and professional sporting events, amusement parks, schools, polling places on voting days, and other locations where events may take place. Protect yourself and your family physically and legally by learning the laws and regulations regarding firearms.
- Anti-theft wallet. If you plan on keeping personal items with you while at an event, consider using an anti-theft wallet, backpack, or purse to keep valuables safe.
What to Do at Austin Festivals and Events to Stay Safe
What you do at events and how you respond to different situations are critical for staying safe.
- Watch for security. Keep tabs on security guards or event personnel so you can reach them quickly if needed.
- Take note of exits. You and your group may decide to come up with a plan based on the nearest exit. While it’s a good idea to have an exit strategy for an emergency, ensure you follow event security procedures and defer to emergency personnel.
- Dress appropriately. What you wear should match the event. Depending on the venue and season, you may decide to wear close-toed shoes, a long-sleeved shirt, or pants with pockets for holding your wallet or cellphone.
- Tell others where you will be before you leave. It’s always a good idea to inform friends or family members where you will be, especially before an event with a large crowd. In the event of an emergency, they may be able to reach out to you and help. If you go with a group to an event, you should also ensure someone knows where you are going before you leave to use the restroom or buy concessions.
- Stay aware. Always remain conscious of your surroundings and potential dangers. Move to a different location if the crowd starts to become rowdy or violent. You can often avoid trouble simply by staying focused on the moment rather than using a smartphone or other distractions.
- Remain calm. If there is an emergency, don’t panic. Remain calm, keep your group together, and follow directions from event emergency personnel.
What to Avoid at Austin Festivals and Events to Stay Safe
Your event safety checklist could also include a list of potentially dangerous mistakes or activities to avoid.
- Don’t accept items from strangers. Many events have staff members that hand out stickers, candy, or other giveaways. Never take anything from someone who doesn’t work at the event, including drinks, bags, containers, or anything you are unsure of.
- Don’t get involved in any altercation. If there is an argument or fight, never jump in. Keep your family away, call the police, shout to break up the fight, and stay by any injured parties. Stepping in to break up the fight can get you injured.
- Never pretend to carry a bomb. Hinting at a terrorist act, even in jest, could cause panic and put you and others in danger. Avoid any talk about an attack, carrying a bomb, or any joke that may be misinterpreted.
What Do I Do If I've Been Injured by Someone Else at an Event?
Following an event safety checklist can help minimize danger at large events. However, there is almost always at least a small risk of injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured at an event, please feel free to reach out to Sandoval & James. We understand the importance of Austin festival safety and have over 50+ years of combined experience with 3,000 successfully resolved cases.