AUSTIN -- South by Southwest: it's the time of year when the world invades Austin, but turning the city into a mecca for music lovers and party-goers comes with challenges.
"There are always smaller events that are trying to come in and be part of the bigger event," said David Brietzke, Assistant Fire Marshal of Special Events for the Austin Fire Department. "And some of them do get permits. Some of them don't get permits."
Brietzke said that for every major event or festival in Austin, there are about one dozen events without permits that put public safety at risk. However, knowing which permits to get complicates the process for event planners.
"A lot of that is just unawareness. They're not aware of each department that they have to go to," said Scott Davidson, operations manager with The Electric Company, an event planning company.
For instance, some planners just get permits with AFD.
"Fire would be the only one who knew about this permit, but it was also creating concerns for cuing in the right of way, people standing out in the street. Maybe they didn't have a security plan, a medical plan," Brietzke said.
Now, the city has a solution.
"We've brought up to eight different department applications into a consolidated, online interactive application," said Jacob Dirr, spokesman for the City of Austin Transportation Department.
Event planners will fill out one application and the information trickles down to different departments. Staff in those departments will contact planners and make sure the event has the proper permits.
The new system will also make sure the number of events doesn't exceed the number of police, fire and paramedics needed to keep attendees safe.
"I think it's important for the city to be aware of what's going on and that we don't grow too fast and that we all produce safe and responsible events," said Davidson.
Last year at SXSW there were 204 venues, but AFD only issued permits for 143 of them. Seventeen permit applications were denied.
AFD issued about 70 more permits in 2013 than in 2010, so city officials said it's imperative they manage the growth.
Go here to see the new permit application.