Safety is Music to Our Ears During SXSW

It’s an annual rite of spring in Austin. Throngs of guitar-toting musicians from across the globe descend on the city for the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival. A fortunate few will land record deals. Others will earn loyal fans.

All will have the privilege of saying they were selected to participate in one of the most prestigious music events in the world.

If you’re braving the crowds this week, enjoy yourself, but be careful.

In the wake of a traffic accident that killed four people during last year’s event, law enforcement officials laid the groundwork for an incident-free festival in 2015. You can do your part by following these safety tips.

Protect your ears
You will be able to hear much of the music from the street. If you go inside a venue to really soak it up, protect your hearing with earplugs:

  • Foam earplugs are among the least expensive options. You can get a pack for a few dollars at most pharmacies and grocery stores. All you have to do is squish them, put them in your ears and let them expand.
  • High-fidelity earplugs preserve the quality of the music better than foam earplugs. They’re also inexpensive and easy to find.
  • If you want to take your listening experience up a few notches, look into custom earplugs. They’re more comfortable than over-the-counter options, and they preserve music quality even better. Many hearing aid stores and health care facilities that specialize in hearing can make custom earplugs.

Celebrate responsibly
SXSW organizers are limiting the amount of free alcohol served this year. If you drink, do it responsibly:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • Don’t drive if you are not sober. Instead, walk or take advantage of Austin’s many public transportation options.
  • If you are sober and you do drive, be careful; other drivers may not be as responsible as you.

Be careful in crowds
Many festival goers spend the bulk of their time on and around Sixth Street. Crowds and confined spaces are a recipe for accidents:

  • If you go into a venue, make sure you know where the fire exits are in case of an emergency.
  • Stay toward the back of the crowd to avoid getting shoved.
  • Bring hand sanitizer or hand wipes to limit exposure to germs.
  • During events that draw large crowds, basic pedestrian safety sometimes gets overlooked. Cross only at designated crosswalks, and look both ways before you cross.
  • Do not wander off by yourself into isolated areas.
  • Put your money and ID in a travel pouch that has a zipper.
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