sxsw 2014

Nearly two months after the global design and planning company, Populous, released a report saying South by Southwest and the city of Austin could do more to improve public safety and manage growing crowds at the festival, organizers are trying to test out some of the report’s recommendations.

Last Friday, on Halloween, South by Southwest organizers worked with private businesses on Sixth Street to set up three cameras on the street between Brazos and Red River streets. According to the festival organizers, the goal was to monitor crowd activity because Halloween and the first night of Formula 1 would attract crowds similar to those at SXSW.

According to a lawyer with the festival, SXSW believes the city could do more to deal with issues of overcrowding on Sixth street. 

SXSW would not say where exactly the cameras were located.

Courtesy "Two Step"

Update: Austinites have another chance to see "Two Step" on the big screen. After showing at SXSW and the Little Rock Film Festival, the Austin Film Society is screening Austin-based writer/director Alex R. Johnson's dark feature.

KUT talked with Johnson about the film back in March.

Original Story (March 10, 2014): The Texas drama "Two Step" debuts at SXSW Film. It is Austin-based writer/director Alex R. Johnson's first feature-length film. It has a "No Country for Old Men" vibe – along with a memorable villain who you're better off not running into.

Johnson is pretty new to Austin. He talked with KUT about "Two Step" and how moving here inspired him to make it.

Ben King

Update: Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater's much-anticipated 12-year film project "Boyhood" opens in theatres across Austin today. KUT talked with star Ethan Hawke when he was in town for South by Southwest.

Original Story (March 11): Actor Ethan Hawke is in not one but two films that headlined SXSW Film this year.

“Boyhood” is the 12-year-long film project about growing up by Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater. “Predestination” is a time-travel sci-fi thriller.

KUT sat down with Hawke to talk with him about the films and about his Texas ties – Hawke was born in Austin.

Tina Rowden

Texas is the setting of a new AMC show touted as the next “Mad Men.”

Halt and Catch Fire” made its television debut last night. The show follows an unlikely group of computer geniuses in the early 1980's in the so-called "Silicon Prairie."

KUT talked with the show’s creators – Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers – at a busy downtown Austin restaurant when they premiered the program at South by Southwest.

Jon Shapley for KUTX

The City of Austin's special event office Wednesday night presented the results of a feedback survey on this year’s South by Southwest music festival.

Bill Manno, Corporate Special Events Program Manger for the City of Austin, hinted at possible changes they're discussing, but some meeting attendees say they still aren't sure of the point of the survey and felt it was vague and the questions were ambiguous.

“What are perceived as the problems that we’re addressing here?" asked Jimmy Stewart, owner of Do 512, an event listing and RSVP site in Austin. "That’s where I’m unclear. This questionnaire is passed, we went over the results, but what are the problems? What are the objectives?”

When Stewart asked that question to the panel, they didn’t have a specific answer.

Andrew Huygen for KUT News

The Austin Police Department has filed four more charges against the suspect accused of killing four people and injuring more than 20 people in downtown Austin on March 13

Roger Wade with the Travis County Sheriff's Office confirms that 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens now has 25 aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges filed against him as of April 17. He's also been charged with capital murder.

Jon Shapley for KUT News

One of the victims of the car crash into South by Southwest crowds is now in the rehab stage of her recovery. 

Mason Endres can now hop on one leg and push herself in a wheelchair. But she’s still learning to walk again.

The man charged with capital murder in the crash into a crowd at South by Southwest is now also charged with 20 counts of aggravated assault.

21-year-old Rashad Owens has been jailed since the March 13 crash. Police say Owens was speeding away from a traffic stop when he drove through a barricade onto a street crowded with pedestrians.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for KUTX

Questions raised by this year's South by Southwest festival and conference aren't restricted to think pieces: The Austin City Council is now asking for "a full post-event evaluation" of the ever-growing event. The findings could result in changes to the way Austin deals with safety, crowds, permits, and even alcohol during SXSW and other events. 

Coming off its 27th year, the SXSW event itself generated as many headlines as its performers and conference breakouts. 

Martin Scali

Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is now in theaters across the country.

A South by Southwest audience got a sneak peek last week. The highly-stylized filmmaker himself even made a trip to Austin for the screening and an extended Q&A. That's something SXSW Film Head Janet Pierson said she'd been trying to make happen for about a decade. 

Andrew Huygen for KUT News

Update: Curtisha Davis has been released from University Medical Center Brackenridge, a hospital spokesperson says. According to Fort Worth media, she has returned home. Her boyfriend, DeAndre Tatum, remains in critical condition.

Two other Brackenridge patients (Gracie Nguyen, Evan West) remain in fair condition; at St. David's hospital, Mason Endres also remains in fair condition.

Another Brackenridge patient (Joseph McCraney) remains in good condition. 

Original story (1: 56 p.m.): KERA News in Dallas has details on two of the victims in last week's fatal South by Southwest crash.

Two of the victims still hospitalized – 17-year-old Curtisha Davis and 18-year-old DeAndre Tatum – are current and former students at Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth. "Cheerleader Curtisha Davis is expected to leave the hospital in the next few days," KERA reports."But DeAndre Tatum is still in a medically induced coma." The two are girlfriend and boyfriend. 

Students and teachers at Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth are coping with a pair of tragedies. Just before spring break, junior Jocelyn Saucedo was fatally stabbed. And last week, a cheerleader and her boyfriend were among the two dozen injured in Austin when a car plowed into a crowd at the South by Southwest festival.

Andrew Huygen for KUT News

A patient injured in last week's car collision with South by Southwest crowds has died. 

Sandy Thuy Le, 26, died this morning at University Medical Center Brackenridge. She was an Austin resident, according to social media.

Le is the third to die from injuries incurred in the Thursday morning crash; 27 year-old Austinite Jamie Ranae West and 35 year-old Dutch visitor Steven Craenmehr were pronounced dead at the crash scene. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for KUT News

Summary: 21 year-old Rashad Owens has been formally charged in this week’s crash that killed two people and injured 23 on Red River Street during South by Southwest. As of Saturday, he remains in custody.

Court documents show Owens had a blood alcohol content of 0.114, above the legal limit of .08. Read the entire charging affidavit here.

Owens was charged with one count of capital murder. His bail was set at $3 million. More charges could follow.

South by Southwest concluded Sunday with a handful of events. A charity fund created for the crash victims and their families, SXSW Cares, has already netted tens of thousands of dollars. 

As of Sunday morning, seven people remain hospitalized from Thursday's fatal crash outside of the Mohawk on Red River Drive.

Six are at Seton, with two in critical condition. St. David’s HealthCare discharged one patient Saturday and now has just one patient left, 18-year-old Mason Endres. Mason has been surrounded by friends and family during her hospitalization, but on Saturday she got a surprise visit.


If there’s one thing Austinites love – it’s hearing people talk about how great Austin is. The film “The Road to Austin” features a lot of that. It premiered at South by Southwest Film.

"The Road to Austin" is part documentary, part concert and features a lot of well-known voices – from Kris Kristofferson and Joe Ely to a couple of KUTX DJs – all talking about what makes the Austin music scene so special and how it became the live music capital of the world.   

KUT talked with "The Road to Austin" producer/director Gary Fortin:

Police have arrested a rapper who performed at South by Southwest after officials say he encouraged a crowd to push through doors keeping them out of an already overcrowded venue.

Tyler Okonma, who performs as Tyler, the Creator, was arrested and charged with “Riot - Class A misdemeanor." Police released a video of Okonma telling fans outside of his show Thursday at the Scoot Inn to push past security personnel that were keeping them out of the venue.

Jack Zeman

Writer/Director Riley Stearns grew up in Pflugerville – but has been making his living in L.A. He says bringing the movie to SXSW Film for its World Premiere is like a homecoming.

“Faults" follows a cult deprogrammer who is hired by some parents to kidnap and de-program their brainwashed daughter. But as the film progresses, the cult deprogrammer – and the audience – start to question who is really the most negative influence.

KUT talked with Stearns about his film:

Michael Samm

Update: KUT's Kate McGee appeared on WBUR's Here and Now to discuss governments pitching themselves at SXSW.

Read and listen: Cities And Countries Pitch Themselves At SXSW 

Original story (March 12): At South by Southwest, tech companies may come to pitch the next big mobile app or hardware, but city governments are also here to pitch themselves as the best place to create that next big app.

“There’s a collision of all the kinds of people were trying to attract, talented engineers looking for their next great opportunity, companies looking for a place to grow, or investors seeking deal flow," says Jenifer Boss, the director of business development with the deputy mayor’s office in Washington D.C.. "And we want to take advantage of having all those people in one place."  

South by Southwest continues today in Austin, Tex., following yesterday’s tragic hit and run that left two people dead and 23 injured — and left many wondering if the festival that draws tens of thousands of visitors from around the world has become too big and unruly.

As the festival continues to expand, cities and countries have been sending representatives to tout their homegrown musical artists — and do a little self-promotion — with the goal of attracting new business.