ACL Festival, News
Emergency Preps At ACL
Seventy-five thousand people will pack into Zilker Park this weekend. Photo by Dee Kapila
The City of Austin is asking people at the ACL Festival not to smoke
in hopes of preventing fires. Seventy-five thousand people will pack into Zilker Park this weekend. Half of them are out-of-towners.
Marilyn Griggs has been to all ACL Festivals at Zilker Park except for one. She said she appreciates the festival organizers going along with the smoking ban to try and protect the Austin community. But Griggs said she worries about the non-Austinites who aren’t familiar with city.
She compared it to her experience visiting Oahu when a tsunami hit Japan
and was heading for the Hawaiian Islands.
“It was really scary not knowing because we were a bunch a tourists, we don’t know anything,” said Marilyn Griggs. “And there are so many people here that are tourists.”
When a propane tank fire
started during the ACL festival in 2007, no evacuations were made but if they were needed Jason Maurer says there is a plan for that. Maurer is the special events manager for the city’s parks department.
“There is a PA system here. There are jumbo-tron screens that will be used for messaging should we ask people to step back from the stage or weather is coming,” said Maurer.
But most people who are at the festival didn’t drive like Daniella Ibarra. Ibarra and her sister flew from Mexico for the festival. She said in an emergency, she wouldn’t know where to go, who to call or what do.
“I don’t think if something starts you are not like going to turn on to a screen and see what is says. You just start running,” she said.
Maurer said ACL festival organizers have an email and text messaging alert system for as a way to feed out emergency information to those who bought tickets to the concert. This is how C3 Presents began warning people of the smoking ban at ACL.
Maurer said he’s not as worried about a fire happening at ACL so much as a fire starting on the trails or greenbelts surrounding ACL.
“The park itself here at Zilker is green and irrigated so inside the actual event fence that’s for the organizer to maintain in there and they have on duty resources inside,” Maurer said.
The contract requires C3 Presents to hire off-duty police officers for security and emergency management.
Emergency exits are marked within the park. There is also an ACL app
for iPhones and Android phones.
Maurer said information could be distributed through those, too, if needed.
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