ACL Fest: Be prepared for tighter security, metal detectors

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UPDATE: 10.3: Austin City Limits Festival is offering refunds to fans who no longer wish to attend in the wake of the Las Vegas shootings.

UPDATE: 10.2: We have received the following statement from C3 Presents, producers of Austin City Limits Fest:

Our thoughts and prayers are with our colleagues and everyone in Las Vegas who was affected by this terrible tragedy.

Safety has always been our top priority.  Our staff and security team works year-round with the Austin Police Department, Austin Fire Department, Austin-Travis County EMS, and other authorities to plan and rehearse security and response plans.  Over the years, tighter security measures have been implemented at ACL Fest including a layered security plan that includes elements that are seen and unseen, as well as pat downs, bag searches and size limits, and an enhanced security and law enforcement presence inside and outside the festival.

We look forward to Austin City Limits Music Festival over the next two weekends.

EARLIER: We have reached out to Austin City Limits Festival organizers to see if the horrific Sunday night shooting in Las Vegas will have an impact on the massive event at Zilker Park, set to kick off on Friday, but even before the weekend tragedy, festival organizers were preparing for tighter security conditions on the ground.

Jessica Yeatts of Austin is the first in line as she waits for the gates to open at the Austin City Limits Music Festival 2014. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

THE LATEST: Mass shooting in Las Vegas

Over the past year, Austin’s largest concert venues, including the Austin360 Amphitheater at Circuit of Americas and the Frank Erwin Center, have begun restricting bag size, and ACL Fest is following suit. This year, fest organizers say they will allow “18 L sized bags or smaller.” “18 L,” stands for 18 Liter, a compact style of sport backpack. Organizers say bags should be “roughly 1000 cubic inches or 10” x 10” x 10”” and that drawstring bags work well.

As in past years, all bags will be searched at the gate. Festival organizers note: “You can help keep the lines moving quickly by leaving large bags at home and going through the ‘No Bag’ line at the entrance.”

RELATED: Austin officials rush to reassure public about ACL Fest safety

Also, according to guidelines on the ACL Fest website, “by purchasing a ticket, you agree to submit to a full body pat-down and metal detector search before entry.” Last year, security personnel did pat downs at the gate, but we did not see metal detectors. Festival organizers say, “If you would like to be screened by security personnel of your same gender, please let security personnel know prior to the search process.”

RELATED: What’s new at ACL Fest this year?

They add that “screening of children will always take place with the consent of a parent or guardian.” Families are encouraged to use the dedicated family entrance, which is tailored to children and families. The family entrance is adjacent to a new third gate to the festival added this year on the east side of Barton Springs Road.

The festival has also banned umbrellas this year (as well as inflatable furniture) and official guidelines say that all sunscreen containers must be sealed. When we reached out for clarification, organizers said they recommend travel-sized sunscreen bottles.

Author: Deborah Sengupta Stith

Deborah Sengupta Stith has been hanging out in dimly lit corners of the city soaking in the music scene for almost 20 years. Twitter: @deborific

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