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ACL Fest safety tips: 7 things to know to keep you, your valuables secure for festival weekend

Heather Osbourne
Austin American-Statesman
Austin police officers patrol the grounds at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Sunday October 6, 2019.

Ready to go to the Austin City Limits Music Festival's first weekend of shows? Now that we are back to attending in person with thousands of strangers, here are seven things to know to keep you and your valuables safe:

1. Fanny packs, front and center.

Austin police suggest using a fanny pack or other front-facing pouch to store such valuables as cellphones, cash or cards. About 43 cellphones were reported stolen or lost at ACL Fest in the first weekend on 2019 (the last time the event was in person).

Items kept in sight are less likely to be stolen, police say, so avoid setting them down or storing them in back pockets.

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2. All bags will be searched before entry.

ACL Fest organizers say clutch purses and fanny packs that are 4.5 inches by 5.5 inches or smaller do not need to be transparent, but they can only have one pocket.

All other bags must be fully clear and made up of clear plastic, vinyl, or pvc, and be no larger than 12 inches by 12 inches x 6 inches. So basically small purses, totes and drawstring bags only. No backpacks or bags with multiple pockets.

Hydration packs are allowed but they must be emptied of all liquid and have no more than two pockets in addition to the one holding the water reservoir, festival organizers say.

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3. Some deals are just too good to be true.

Three men were arrested in 2019 after Austin police accused them selling and reusing a handful of wristbands more than 100 times. Those planning to purchase tickets should only buy them at aclfestival.com/tickets or from staff at the festival gates. Tickets purchased on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or any other nonofficial transactions could be counterfeit or invalid, police say.

4. Know your surroundings.

Festivalgoers should prepare in advance for an emergency by scoping out the emergency exits once on the festival grounds. If an evacuation occurs during the festival, pay attention to law enforcement and safety professionals and follow their instructions. For a personal emergency, such as an injury, call 911. For nonemergency help, call 311. First-aid tents will be scattered around the festival to help with medical issues.

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5. Use the buddy system.

Police recommend that people attending ACL Fest use a buddy system. Communicate with friends in advance that if someone does get lost, try to meet at designated meeting spot.

6. It’s OK to drink, but stick to water.

Austin police say people should enjoy themselves, but within reason. They recommend you not overindulge in alcohol to the point where you’re unable to make safe decisions. Alcoholic drinks or soda aren’t as effective as just water for keeping you hydrated.

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7. Keep your eyes peeled for danger.

Pedestrians need to be looking up and not down at their phones because they could run into other pedestrians, pedicabs, scooters, cyclists and barricades. Use crosswalks, obey traffic signals and don’t cross over barricades. Watch out for the motorists on the road who might not be watching for you. Police also urge against distracted walking: Watch for those who might want to grab your purse or phone while you’re looking away.