Remix by Max Fleishman Remix by Max Fleishman

Drones banned at SXSW

The tech, music, and film conference is officially a no-drone zone.


Taylor Hatmaker


Published Mar 11, 2015   Updated May 29, 2021, 8:08 am CDT

Shooting an intern with a drone-mounted taser is all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. Well, actually no one got hurt last year during Chaotic Moon’s infamous drone stunt, but SXSW 2015 is officially cracking down on man’s best unmanned aerial friend anyway.

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According to a blog post that went up today on the official homepage of SXSW Interactive:

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… the airwaves and/or frequency spectrums generally used in the remote control of drones are too congested during the SXSW event to ensure operation safe from interference.

The Austin Police Department will also be watching for drones in crowded and/or public areas where the drones could pose a risk to public safety. Drones flown in the City of Austin are subject to seizure by the Austin Police Department and the operators are subject to fines and/or arrest.

In addressing the potential risk of drones to the public safety of so many drunk SXSW-goers, the prohibition cites City of Austin Ordinance chapter 13-1, which appears to place a cap on the number of “temporary helistops” a heli-thing thing (presumably usually a helicopter) can make and with what licensure.

SXSW indicates that it may still make exceptions for drones tethered to the ground and within special demo areas. You can take our drones, but you can’t break our spirit.

Photo via Bart Everson/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman 

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*First Published: Mar 11, 2015, 10:05 pm CDT