We’re on the ground at SXSW!

13 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Austin declared a drone-free zone during SXSW.

Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) has declared the music festival a “drone-free zone,” following concerns about public safety and airwave congestion. “SXSW has a strict no drones policy due to the safety risks drones present to the public, and pursuant to City of Austin Ordinance, Chapter 13-1,” read a press statement issued by the festival, which runs until Mar. 22.“Believe me, in the state of Texas folks don’t like drones,” Austin police chief Art Acevedo told KEYE, “so if you operate one, we will get a call, you will be subject to confiscation or arrest.” A city ordinance written to restrict the use of full-scale aircraft over Austin is at the heart of Acevedo’s justification for banning drones, according to the owners of a creative technology studio in town.The annual film-and-music bash’s “SXSW Interactive” tech conference announced late Wednesday a “strict no drones policy” — just hours before the Friday kickoff of the four-day event in Austin, Texas.“The airwaves and/or frequency spectrums generally used in the remote control of drones are too congested during the SXSW event to ensure operation safe from interference,” they said in a statement.

The primary concern for SXSW seems to be airwave interference from the remote control’s frequency spectrums, which may interrupt musical performances. Chaotic Moon Studios, which had been planning on flying a drone at SXSW known as “Tyrone,” which could “tag a wall with spray paint, accost onlookers with silly string, or deter attackers with a three foot flame,” put out a press release to decry the city’s ban. “Drone Tyrone is about pushing the utility aspects of drone and beacon technology,” Chaotic Moon Studios wrote. “We wanted to prove that you can use these vehicles for more than just aerial photography.” The studio said that the police department is basing its ban on City Ordinance 13-1.

That’s how city officials described the coming SXSW event Wednesday and why new security changes were announced. “It’s awesome, it’s awesome, all of these people out here working, and the town is just alive and buzzing,” said Carol Ann Wisely with Marquee Event Group. Private flight is governed under rules similar to those for model aircraft while the Federal Aviation Administration has banned commercial flight unless operators hold an exemption. Drones flown with certain safety measures in mind, such as tethering to the ground, can still be flown at the festival, such as during the annual trade show. In recent months, regulatory agencies at all levels in the United States have been attempting to clarify rules governing where and when people may fly drones.

What this means, of course, is that there’s one less place you and your drone can go together, including national parks, Coachella, Spring Training in Arizona, the Super Bowl and the Idaho Falls Nuclear Training Facility. Last month, the FAA issued new guidelines that, if adopted, would restrict the commercial use of drones that weigh less than 55 pounds, and would keep them to altitudes of less than 500 feet, and speeds of less then 100 miles an hour. When an off-duty intelligence officer lost control of his drone in Washington, D.C., in January, the device crashed on the grounds of the White House.

The drone’s maker, DJI, subsequently issued a firmware update for some of its devices that would make it nearly impossible to fly them within 15 miles of Washington. Gaps to provide access for emergency vehicles will be plugged by police patrol cars. “We are trying to balance the need for the safety of the area with the ability to move people through there if we need to during the event,” said Gordon Derr with the Austin Transportation Department. Finding vegetarian or vegan food isn’t easy, so look out for the blue trailer selling ‘Rockin Vegan Tacos’.” “Anyone coming from the UK will be really surprised at the quality of the inexpensive Mexican food, which you can find everywhere. It’s a lot easier for people to identify if you’re up to no good, a black and white marked police car than to see a police officer that might be surrounded by 20,000 people that may or may not see him,” he explained.

I have to look after my little girl for most of the week, so that’s probably where I’ll be!” “They’re not going to run out of beer, so don’t feel like you have to drink it all on the first day! Police Chief Acevedo says the additional officers assigned to downtown have special orders: bust up the gridlock by citing drivers who cause intersection gridlock and track down pedestrians who cross against the red. “I want to say one thing on that, if you get a ticket, if you walk against the red, I don’t one to hear that we are petty, I don’t want to hear what’s going on with the city, you’ve been warned, we are going to enforce the pedestrian laws,” said Chief Acevedo. I like the vibe of the place – it’s far enough out of the way that it can be pretty mellow, and it serves an amazing bowl of chili.” “Make sure you can swim before you jump in the river, because I almost drowned once.

The best way to approach SXSW is to go with absolutely no plan – get in a rickshaw, go here, go there, just improvise your entire experience and I think you’ll have much more fun. We had a couple of shows the next day, which were a bit of a bust, and then we had to drive for 27 hours back to Toronto because we all had to work on Monday. So there were things we never got to do that we want to do this year: there’s a really great natural swimming pool west of Austin [Hamilton Pool Preserve] that was created when the roof of an underground river collapsed.

Yup, beery cheese.” Stasia: “Take your phone charger with you everywhere, or pick up a little charging stick and make sure that it’s fully charged at all times. A lot of people focus on the big Fader or Pitchfork shows, but if you wander around and go see some bands you’ve never heard of, you might stumble on something really cool. One year we saw Wiz Khalifa before he blew up.” Stasia: “I don’t know the name of it, but there’s a family that have a barbecue truck right in front of [music venue] Red 7, it has really good brisket and sausage.”

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