Downtown Austin is excited as it gets ready for the busy spring season, which will be full of festivals, music, comedy, and other fun things.

Austin prepares for Spring festivities: SXSW, Texas Relays, and more

Austin, Texas – Downtown Austin is excited as it gets ready for the busy spring season, which will be full of festivals, music, comedy, and other fun things. Next month, South by Southwest (SXSW) will start the celebrations, and the city is getting ready for about 340,000 people to come, which is about the same number as last year.

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Brandon Fahy, who is in charge of downtown experiences for the Downtown Austin Alliance, talked about how important these kinds of events are for the economy.

“That supports jobs, sales tax revenue, hotel tax revenue. It benefits the entire city, not just downtown,” Fahy explained.

The large number of visitors needs careful planning, which has been going on for a year to make sure everything goes smoothly this season.

A public forum was recently held by the Downtown Austin Alliance to keep people informed and involved. The corporate special events program manager at Austin Center for Events, Bill Manno, stressed how important it is to talk to people.

“We want to make sure the public knows what’s happening, what the plans are so they can share with their constituents and clients,” Manno said.

The Texas Relays will take place from March 27th to March 30th, the Moontower Comedy Festival will run from April 10th to April 21st, and the CMT Music Awards will return on April 7th. The CMT Music Awards will not close any streets like they did last year. Instead, they will only be held at the Moody Center and in the area near the famous UT tower, which should not have a big effect on the city’s daily life.

The CMT Music Awards’ James Russell reassured the people that this year’s awards show and concerts have been carefully planned to avoid the problems that happened last year, when several blocks of Congress had to be closed off for the event.

City officials are telling residents and visitors to plan ahead because they expect a lot of traffic.

“Just know that there’s going to be a lot of traffic and every year it is. Be patient. Be kind,” advised Manno.

CapMetro will extend its weekend service hours to help ease traffic.

“We’ll run a little later on the weekends to get everyone where they have to be,” said Ron Foster, a CapMetro transportation planner, encouraging people to take advantage of public transportation options like the train, which operates unaffected by road traffic.

The Austin Police Department and EMS are also getting ready even more. They are building on last year’s efforts, which led to a lot of enforcement actions during the spring festival season. Commander Jeff Olson of the Downtown Area emphasized the commitment to safety.

He said, “Our days, nights, and evening shifts will all be staffed at 100 percent plus… Certain times they’ll actually be over that.”

While the full lineup and list of vendors for each event are still being finalized, excitement is already building with the mention of high-profile artists. “Beyoncé had some new country music come out, so that would be kinda cool,” Russell hinted, promising a lineup on par with last year’s, which featured stars like Carrie Underwood and The Black Crowes.

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The Downtown Austin Alliance’s online presentation has a lot of useful information for people who want to go to the spring events in Austin. It includes details about public transportation options, road closures, and more. As long as SXSW stays on track from March 8–16, the city will have another amazing spring season.


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