Last year saw 147 ‘Events’ take place in Austin during SXSW week, primarily around music and the inclusion of temporary stages. All of these required a permit from the City of Austin.
There’s a drive to reduce the size of SXSW in the city, and the council had indicated that there would be an earlier cut-off fate of Feb 5th this year… it also had a hard limit of 120 permits. Those permits were all used up by Tuesday 2nd Feb, and a number of SXSW mainstays had focused on the date cut-off and not the permit limit. Austin360 picks up the story:
Among those caught in the lurch is the South by Southwest Music Festival itself. Festival organizers failed to get in the permit application for St. David’s Church. The downtown church has hosted popular SXSW showcases for years, including capacity shows from Fort Worth soul sensation Leon Bridges and French Cuban sister duo Ibeyi in 2015.
“(The application for) St. David’s church was 24 hours late (or 24 hours early based on the published February 5 deadline depending on how you look at it),” SXSW organizers said Friday morning.
Also caught up was South by San Jose. At this point the permit for the long-running free, family-friendly event that takes place each year in the parking lot of Jo’s Coffee and the Hotel San Jose is up in the air, as it was turned in after the Tuesday cutoff.
As noted, this is a new process that is under review, so it would not surprise us here at SXSW Baby! if the hard limit of 120 is very slightly bendable given the historical weight of some venues. We shall see…