We all have SXSW on the brain, and day parties and free music are on the horizon. For those without a badge or a wristband, here are the biggest free events to put on your list. (Jump on that RSVP now.)
This crowd favorite boasts acts like CHVRCHES, St. Lucia, and Chromeo as well as free drinks and snacks to keep you fueled. Don't forget to RSVP, and be prepared for long lines.
March 14 through 18 at 1501 E. Sixth St.
Do512 Family Picnic
All ages are welcome for live music, food trucks, a magic show, face painting, and (most importantly) free parking at this free, BYOB event. There's plenty of room for the kids to run around, and the adults can enjoy music from Mayeaux & Broussard and a mix of other bands. Take advantage of this free RSVP.
March 15 at Midway Food Park
This mini-fest — curated by some of your favorite music bloggers — consists of five days of great bands, including AlunaGeorge, Charli XCX, POLIÇA, SBTRKT, and tons more. RSVPing is mandatory, but worth it.
March 15 through 19 at Pine Street Station
KGSR SXSW Live Broadcast
For those with day jobs that don't wanna miss out on the fun, KGSR's annual live broadcast is the way to go. Those brave enough to venture out before dawn to see some live music will enjoy performances form The Avett Brothers, BØRNS, Bob Schneider, X Ambassadors, and more. A $5 donation to Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas gets you in the door, plus the first 300 get free breakfast.
March 16 through 19 at W Austin
House of Vans
The traveling venue that takes over Mohawk for four days has become a fest fave. The day shows are free and feature artists we know and love (Neon Indian) and some of the this year's buzziest bands (Diet Cig). Priority will be given to SXSW badge and wristband holders for the night shows, but tickets will be available for purchase at the door if they haven't hit capacity.
March 16 through 19 at the Mohawk
The only thing more quintessentially Austin than free live music is barbecue. SXStileSwitch has both. Bring the gang out for great music from over 30 Texas bands, plus cold beer and award-winning barbecue. It's perfect for anyone who wants the SXSW experience without the chaos of downtown.
March 16 through 19 at Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew
Shed x VeryJazzed Showcase
If Rainey Street is more your style, check out the showcase from VeryJazzed and Shed Barbershop and Supply. The event is free with RSVP, which gets you access to performances from HIGH CHURCH, Deep Cuts, George Clanton, and more.
March 17 at Javelina
The folks behind the iconic boots are teaming up with NoiseTrade to throw a two-day bash at Swan Dive that's open to the public. The two stages will feature sets from Lissie, Wild Child, Penny & Sparrow, and tons of others. Bonus: They've even thrown together a mixtape to get you pumped ahead of the event.
March 17 and 18 at Swan Dive
South By San Jose
A staple of free SXSW events, the Hotel San Jose and Jo's parking lot morphs into a live music mecca for five days. The music starts at noon each day for you early risers.
March 16 through 20 at Hotel San Jose
SXSCongress presented by Blackbox
Head over to Doc's on South Congress for three days full of (mostly) Texas bands like Purple and ISHI. Get there early on Saturday for the hip-hop showcase at 11 am, then hang around for food and March Madness.
March 17 and 18 at Doc's Motorworks Bar & Grill