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Security Readies For Next Big Music Festival


We're learning more today about the Las Vegas shooting from the gunman's girlfriend. Her name is Mary Lou Danley. And in a statement yesterday, she said it never occurred to her that her boyfriend was planning violence against anyone. She did, however, acknowledge that he had bought her a ticket to the Philippines and wired her money. His motives, however, are still a mystery. And now other cities are grappling with how to secure similar venues. The annual Austin City Limits Festival kicks off tomorrow. It's one of the country's biggest music events. And as Jimmy Maas of member station KUT reports, officials and fans are resolute and ready for music.

JIMMY MAAS, BYLINE: The Austin City Limits Festival is massive. Nearly a half-million fans will pass through the gates over the next two weekends to see more than 100 acts, including Jay-Z, Ryan Adams and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Security will be tighter this year. Austin Police will increase patrols inside and outside of the festival grounds. Interim Police Chief Brian Manley on Monday said he knows of no specific threat, but his officers will be strategically placed.


BRIAN MANLEY: This is a plan that has been months in the working. And it's a plan similar to one that we have used in the past. However, we can't come in on the day after an event like we just saw happen in Las Vegas and not reconsider our plans and make sure that we are comfortable that we have addressed every threat possible.

MAAS: This is the 16th so-called ACL festival. Concertgoers pass through metal detectors before entry. Also, no one attending will be able to take their gun inside, despite the fact that Texas is an open-carry state. The festival is held in a wide-open field within the city's Central Park, across a lake from any of Austin's high-rises. Matt Holm has gone to the event every year since 2007. He says the shooting in Las Vegas gives him pause but it has not changed his plan.

MATT HOLM: We're going to go and enjoy our time and trust that, you know, APD here in Austin and everyone's going to kind of be mindful of things. But organizers seem to have things kind of at the cutting edge compared to other festivals around. And I think we're going to have a great time.

MAAS: The festival starts this Friday and continues through the weekend and repeats again the following weekend. For NPR News, I'm Jimmy Maas in Austin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

I grew up in Austin and studied journalism at the University of Texas. I began my radio career making fun of headlines on local sports and news talk shows. I moved to New York City to be a comic. Found some pretty good "day jobs” managing a daily news radio show for the Wall Street Journal and later, producing business news for Bloomberg Television. Upon returning to Austin, I dabbled in many things, including hosting nights and weekends on KUT and producing nightly TV news. Now I’m waking up early to make Morning Edition on KUT even better than it already is.