Best of the Fest

Our guide to experiencing this year’s SXSW Festival for free

by Holly Cowart
SXSW Best of the Fest
Crowd shots of the 2018 SXSW Outdoor Stage at Ladybird Lake. Photograph by Merrick Ales.

Austin, prepare yourself. We have officially entered South by Southwest season — two weeks of city-wide events covering all things arts and culture. Although our streets will be busier and wallets a little emptier, our city will become a global stage showcasing the latest in tech, music, film, food and beyond. If a badge isn’t in your budget this year, there’s still plenty of ways to get in on the action. We’ve rounded up a comprehensive list of our favorite free happenings to help you navigate through the sheer volume of greatness coming to town. RSVP away and plan accordingly, these hot ticket events are first come, first serve.

— Music —

Capital One House
When: March 8 – 11
Where: Antone’s Nightclub
Why: Bishop Briggs, Mt. Joy, CHVRCHES, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Tameca Jones
Creds: RSVP, 21+

American Civil Liberties Union Concert

When: March 9
Where: 313 Red River St.
Why: Tom Morello, Questlove, K. Flay
Creds: RSVP

Buzzfeed Presents: So Extra … Terrestrial

When: March 9
Where: Mohawk
Why: TBA
Creds: RSVP, 21+

Culture Collide Daytime Shows
Netflix

  • When: March 9 – 12
  • Where: Banger’s Basement
  • Why: The Highwaymen Interactive Experience, Jessica Pratt
  • Creds: RSVP, 21+

The Showtime House of Music

  • When: March 11
  • Where: Clive Bar
  • Why: Music trivia, DJ sets, Free snacks
  • Creds: RSVP, 21+

StubHub

  • When: March 13 & 14
  • Where: Banger’s
  • Why: Just Loud, Phony Ppl, The Unlikely Candidates
  • Creds: RSVP, 21+

Dr. Marten’s

  • When: March 13 – 15
  • Where: Container Bar
  • Why: Broken Social Scene, Japanese Breakfast, The Joy Formidable Free Tattoos
  • Creds: RSVP, 21+

Next Level Apparel

  • When: March 14 & 15
  • Where: Clive Bar
  • Why: Mansionair, Wafia, Clavvs, Your Smith
  • Creds: RSVP, 21+

Pure Golden Hour with Michelob Ultra

When: March 10
Where: Long Center
Why: Miguel, Bishop Briggs, Cautious Clay
Creds: RSVP, 21+

Good Omens + Buzzfeed Hell Yaaaas

When: March 10
Where: 604 Driskill St.
Why: Questlove, Dan Deacon, Food pairings, Astrology readings
Creds: RSVP, 21+

Austin Town Hall VS. Side One Track One

When: March 10
Where: Hotel Vegas
Why: Quiet Company, Emily Wolfe, Moving Panoramas
Creds: RSVP, 21+

Just Another Manic Monday

When: March 11
Where: Mohawk
Why: Deerhunter, The Beths
Creds: RSVP, 21+

Localeur SXSW Birthday Party

When: March 11
Where: Whisler’s
Why: MICK, ulovei
Creds: RSVP, 21+

Media Temple’s Interactive Bash

When: March 12
Where: Stubb’s BBQ
Why: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Myles Hendrick
Creds: RSVP, 21+

AXS Patio Sessions

When: March 12
Where: Austin City Limits Studio 6A
Why: Real Estate, Louie Mueller BBQ
Creds: RSVP

All Are Welcome Day Party

When: March 12
Where: The Mohawk
Why: Ghostland Observatory, Bright Light Social Hour
Creds: None

T for Texas, T for Tennessee

When: March 12
Where: Cactus Cafe
Why: Shinyribs, Carrie Rodriguez, Ben Dickey, Chris Shiflett, Robert Ellis
Creds: None

Make Fuzzy Tracks

When: March 12
Where: Key Bar
Why: Run River North, Will Varley, Otis the Destroyer, Shy Beast
Creds: RSVP, 21+

FLOODfest

When: March 12 & 13
Where: Cedar Street Courtyard
Why: Big Boi, Goodie Mob, Broken Social Scene, White Denim
Creds: RSVP, 21+

101X Day Parties

When: March 12 – 15
Where: Buffalo Billiards
Why: Judah & The Lion, Flora Cash, Quiet Company, Mobley, Mansionair
Creds: 21+

Waterloo Records Day Parties

When: March 13 – 15
Where: Waterloo Records
Why: Bright Light Social Hour, Steve Earle, The Cactus Blossoms, The Chills
Creds: None

Austin City Limits Live Morning Broadcast

When: March 13 – 16
Where: W Austin
Why: X Ambassadors, The Strumbellas, Patty Griffin, Robert Ellis, Hayes Carll, The Get Up Kids, Jamestown Revival, Bob Schneider
Creds: None

YETI SXSW Showcase

Day One

  • When: March 13
  • Where: YETI Flagship
  • Why: Tomar & the FCs, Jackie Venson, JP Saxe, Willie Jones, Billy Strings
  • Creds: RSVP

Day Two

  • When: March 14
  • Where: YETI Flagship
  • Why: Los Coast, Susto, Banditos
  • Creds: RSVP

Day Three

  • When: March 15
  • Where: YETI Flagship
  • Why: Ben Dickey, Hayes Carll, The Cactus Blossoms, Chris Shiflett
  • Creds: RSVP

Day Four

  • When: March 16
  • Where: YETI Flagship
  • Why: Eric Tessmer, Rob Baird, Capyac
  • Creds: RSVP

Lucy’s Fried Chicken Revival

When: March 13 – 17
Where: 2218 College Ave.
Why: Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Shinyribs, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Peterson Brothers, Low Cut Connie, Ian Moore
Creds: None

South X San José

When: March 13 – 17
Where: Hotel San José and Jo’s parking lot
Why: Robert Ellis, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Black Pumas, Broken Social Scene, Hayes Carll, Tomar & the FCs, John Paul White, HÆLOS
Creds: None

Second Play Stages

When: March 13 – 17
Where: Various Locations
Why: Official SXSW artists
Creds: SXSW Guest Pass

Bloody Mary Morning

When: March 14
Where: GSD&M Backyard
Why: The Strumbellas, Patty Griffin, Reignwolf
Creds: RSVP, 21+

REVOLT House

When: March 14
Where: Vulcan Gas Company
Why: DMX, Flipp Dinero
Creds: RSVP, 21+

SXSW Outdoor Stage

When: March 14 – 16
Where: Lady Bird Lake
Why: X Ambassadors, Patty Griffin, Big Boi
Creds: SXSW Guest Pass

Brooklyn Bowl Family Reunion

When: March 14 – 17
Where: Historic Scoot Inn
Why: Broken Social Scene, Reignwolf, Durand Jones & The Indications
Creds: RSVP

Austin Monthly Bands to Watch Party

When: March 15
Where: Scholz Garten
Why: Rochelle and the Sidewinders, Los Coast, El Tule
Creds: RSVP

Texas Electric Showcase

When: March 15
Where: Arlyn Studios
Why: The Texas Gentlemen, Medicine Man Revival, The Dirty Nil
Creds: RSVP

The Austin Chronicle’s Hair of the 3-Legged Dog Day Party

When: March 15
Where: Hotel Vegas
Why: White Denim, Jackie Venson, Bloody Marys, Tacodeli tacos, Austin Pets Alive!
Creds: RSVP, 21+

New Nashville Live

When: March 15
Where: Hyatt Regency Dock
Why: Sarah Potenza, Banditos, Luthi
Creds: RSVP

Future of Music Showcase

When: March 15 & 16
Where: Shiner’s Saloon
Why: Calliope Musicals, CLAVVS, Bourgeois Mystics
Creds: RSVP

Rachael Ray’s Feedback

When: March 16
Where: Stubb’s BBQ
Why: Bleachers, Big Boi, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Cautious Clay, Bob Schneider, Ben Dickey
Creds: 21+

Swisher Sweets Artist Project

When: March 16
Where: Fair Market
Why: Paul Cauthen, Taylor Bennett, Asian Doll
Creds: RSVP

Kimpton Off the Record

When: March 16
Where: Geraldine’s
Why: Moon Taxi
Creds: Enter to win, 21+

The Big One

When: March 16
Where: Barracuda
Why: Durand Jones & The Indications, Walker Lukens, Reignwolf, Y La Bamba
Creds: RSVP, 21+

 

— Other —

MashBash

When: March 8
Where: Irene’s
Why: Pop culture, Space travel
Creds: RSVP, 21+

Welcome to Gwichyaa Zhee Film Premiere

When: March 8
Where: Patagonia
Why: Nonprofit meet & greet, Q&A with filmmaker Greg Balkin
Creds: None

The Deep End by Vox Media

When: March 8 – 10
Where: The Belmont
Why: Live podcasts, Cooking demos, Video games, Interactive experiences
Creds: RSVP

“Good Omens” Garden of Earthly Delights

When: March 8 – 11
Where: 604 Driskill St.
Why: Hellhound Puppy Pen, A.Z. Fell & Co. bookshop pop up, Hidden surprises
Creds: 21+

Uber Eats Window

When: March 8 – 16
Where: 600 E 6th St.
Why: Free food, Surprise drops
Creds: None

Bumble Hive SXSW

When: March 8 – 17
Where: Jo’s Coffee
Why: Free breakfast tacos, DJ parties, Special programming
Creds: RSVP

Outdoor Voices A Brunch of Joggers

When: March 9
Where: OV HQ
Why: Midland, Boozy brunch, Fun jog
Creds: None

SXSW Wellness Expo

When: March 9 & 10
Where: Palmer Events Center
Why: Fitness Stage, Conscious Conversations, Workshops
Creds: SXSW Guest Pass

Rent the Runway x West Elm

When: March 9 & 10
Where: West Elm Austin
Why: Living Closet, Customizable bag station, Professional portraits, Cosmic readings
Creds: RSVP

Culture Trip Soho in SoCo

When: March 9 – 11
Where: Austin Motel
Why: Soul of Soho, Night Market, Drag Bingo
Creds: RSVP

Facebook Art House

When: March 9 – 11
Where: The Native
Why: Community Dinner, Screen Printing Workshop, VR for Good
Creds: RSVP

Viceland Skateland

When: March 9 – 12
Where: Carmelo’s Lot
Why: VICELAND Bus, Retro Roller Rink, Surprise guests, Merch, DJs
Creds: 18+ / 21+

FX Vampire Libraries

When: March 9 – 12
Where: Various Locations
Why: Vampire books, What We Do in the Shadows theme
Creds: None

Hotel Texas Monthly

When: March 9 – 16
Where: 1512 S Congress Ave.
Why: Travel concierge, Coffee & beer bar, Daily business panels
Creds: None

Celebrate with Kendra Scott

When: March 9, 15 – 17
Where: Kendra Scott Flagship
Why: Live Tote Screen Printing, Influencer Panel & Meet Up, Live Silk Scarf Chain Stitching, Morning Yoga & Juice Bar
Creds: RSVP

HQ IRL

When: March 10
Where: 90 Rainey St.
Why: Win $10,000
Creds: RSVP

TechLA Taco Hour

When: March 10
Where: Green Light Social
Why: Tacos, Tequila, Tech talk
Creds: RSVP

Bon Appétit Test Kitchen Pizza Party

When: March 12
Where: The Carpenter Hotel
Why: Pizza, “Making Perfect” sneak peek, Bon Appétit stars
Creds: RSVP / Waitlist

GOOD Design Tacos Music

When: March 12
Where: Spreetail
Why: Mobley, The Peached Tortilla tacos, Treaty Oak, Emancipet
Creds: RSVP

PMA Global Street Farm

When: March 12 & 13
Where: L’Estelle House
Why: Global Street Festival, Happy Hours, Flower Power, Lite bites, DJs
Creds: RSVP, 21+

Torchy’s Tacos Tiny House Pop Up

When: 12 – 14
Where: 98 Rainey St.
Why: Torchy’s Tacos, Yard games, Live music
Creds: None

Lafayette Live Crawfish Boil

When: March 13
Where: C-Boy’s Heart & Soul Bar
Why: Authentic Cajun food, Drinks, Live music
Creds: RSVP

Rachael Ray’s Moxie Shop Pop Up

When: March 14 – 18
Where: 1511 S Congress Ave.
Why: Fashion, Accessories, Décor
Creds: None

SXSW Marketplace

When: March 15 & 16
Where: Austin Convention Center
Why: Unique pop-ups, Local and global brands, Fresh trends
Creds: SXSW Guest Pass

Comedy Central’s Backyard Bash

When: March 15 & 16
Where: Pelons Tex Mex & Bar
Why: Free beer, Egg tacos, Fun fan activities
Creds: None

Freehold x Native Block Party

When: March 16
Where: The Native
Why: Half-pipe fashion show, OGX Beauty Bar, Pop up shops
Creds: RSVP

Easy Doz It

When: March 16
Where: Dozen Street
Why: Calliope Musicals, Megafauna, Animals For Hands
Creds: 21+

Puppy Party

When: March 17
Where: Lustre Pearl
Why: Austin Pets Alive!, Tito’s, Surprises
Creds: RSVP, 21+


Read More From the Music + Film Issue | March 2019


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