Drones have become a key part of filming movies, TV shows, and music videos. While their popularity has grown in the film industry, SXSW Music Film Interactive has banned drones from flying during the conference in Austin Texas.

According to Noise 11 who was quoting SXSW officials:

SXSW has a strict no-drones policy due to the safety risks drones present to the public, and pursuant to City of Austin Ordinance, Chapter 13-1. 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


The SXSW is a great opportunity for businesses to show off their new and exciting drones. This new ban will definitely hinder the ability for drone-makers to demonstrate what their drones can do and how they can be utilized in the industry. While you can show off video footage of the drone in action, it’s simply not the same as seeing it fly before your eyes. 

Although the ban may seem intense, flying drones may not have been banned altogether. It is rumored that SXSW will make exceptions to the rule on a case-by-case basis. It’s rumored that the drone will need to be tethered to the ground for the safety of those attending.

We are told that the reasoning behind this is to keep everyone safe. Because drones are controlled through a number of wireless signals – one of the many being WiFi –  devices carried by the massive amount of people attending could throw off a drone’s wireless signal.

Also, there are devices out there such as the Cyborg Unplug that can jam the WiFi signal of drones. This could interrupt the pilots’ signal, potentially bringing the drone crashing to the ground. No one wants to see a drone drop from the sky and hit an innocent kid in the face! Although I doubt someone would do this intentionally, we have to prepare for the worst. 

Compare this to other conferences such as CES. Drones were flown without any major accidents. We didn’t read in the news of fingers being cut off from the prop of a drone during any CES demonstration. This is because at CES, drones were flown in a controlled environment sometimes within completely enclosed areas. This comparison makes SXSW policies seem less drastic. The question remains, how much risk do drones bring to such events? 

We want to hear your thoughts? Should businesses be allowed to demonstrate their drones to potential buyers? Are there other safety concerns that we should be worried about? Let us know in the comment section below.