Increased Police Presence, Strict Security Checkpoints at Austin Music Festival

The first major music festival since the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas kicked off in Austin, Texas, Friday.

For the next two weekends, 75,000 people will fill up Zilker Park for the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Police are taking security and safety more seriously than ever before, and it's given peace of mind to festival-goers.

"No matter what happened there, we just have to have faith that we can have fun here," said Houston native Kate Carter.

There is an increased presence of law enforcement inside and around the festival grounds. The Austin Police Department has extra support from the Texas Department of Public Safety. State troopers will help assist local officers while conducting patrols. The festival has hired its own private security firm as well.

"Safety is our main concern," said Austin Police Chief Brian Manley. "On top of our SWAT team, that has the highest level of tactical training, and the highest level of protective gear and equipment, we supplemented that with a large number of front-line patrol officers that are on the street every day and every night. Those officers will have equipment and rifles. They will play a large part in our security footprint."

Additional medical teams are also on hand, including separate ambulances designated specifically for the festival. A separate dispatch system was officially assigned for concertgoers in case there is a mass casualty situation. Extra trauma kits with tourniquets have been placed around the festival.

Thousands of people were ushered through airport-like security checkpoints at every entrance. Metal detectors and new bag restrictions were also in place to keep the event secure.

Francine Bailard has been to ACL before and knew what to expect from security, but then the shooting in Las Vegas occurred. Fifty-eight people were killed last Sunday by a lone gunman at a Las Vegas open-air concert similar to ACL.

"We had second thoughts about coming," Bailard said. "My friend and I were talking about there being big buildings around where someone could do something."

By the time the music started, though, many fans were not thinking twice about their safety. Andy Thomson said it's a sign that people will not let the actions of one man keep them from living their lives.

"What happened was really sad, but it would be even sadder if people stopped actually getting out and enjoying things," he said.

Online: What You Can, Can't Bring Into ACL

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