SXSW 2019
SXSW Freebies

SXSW invites locals to join festival with these free official events

SXSW invites locals to join festival with these free official events

SXSW Flatstock
Among SXSW's free activities is Flatstock 69. Photo by Aaron Rogosin/SXSW

Only a few days remain until SXSW Interactive begins, and this year, the festival is inviting everyone to get in on the fun. On March 4, organizers released the lineup of official free events with programming running the gamut from education to fashion to music. 

Though these official SXSW events are free and open to the public, many do require a guest pass, which can be secured here. The pass also gets you access to the Outdoor Stage, a massive three-day musical event taking over Auditorium Shores March 14-16.

And if you're looking for free, non-sanctioned parties, we have those picks, too. (Just don't tell SXSW you got them from us.)

The Learning Expo — March 6
The Learning Expo, which accompanies SXSW Edu, opens its doors to the public on March 6, inviting students, teachers, and others interested in education to attend. The expo is billed as "the central hub for innovations in learning" and features a discovery-based learning playground, curated programming, and more. 

International Women's Day Celebration — March 8
The Palm Door is transformed into an international destination courtesy of the EU, which is co-hosting the event with UN Women. From 2:30-8:30 pm take in performances from female-identifying and non-binary performers followed by an unforgettable after-party and performance by Flint Eastwood.  

ReThink ATX — March 8
The Austin Urban Technology Movement and Harlem Labs takes over Springdale General for a mini-summit on ... wait for it ... Austin. The all-day event is designed to foster conversation about Austin's economic future, job sectors, and the power of information sharing. With so many important conversations about diversity and economic growth happening in Austin, this is a can't-miss lineup.

20x2 v 19 — March 8
There is a reason this has been one of SXSW's most beloved events for nearly two decades. Twenty people take two minutes to answer a "deceptively simple question" at the North Door. This year, a group of musicians, tech insiders, writers, and more will all answer: "What did you expect?" (We expect thought-provoking answers.)

Community Conversations March 8-11
Four packed days of conversation and networking unfold at the George Washington Carver Center. Take part in panels about black Twitter, innovation inclusion within cities, and the importance of diversity in tech. Blackish star Marsai Martin, BYOB Live! podcast, and a screening of Can I Kick It? are among the highlights.

Wellness Expo — March 9-10
As Goop's South Congress pop-up has proved, there is nothing hipper than wellness. Back for its second year at the Palmer Events Center, SXSW's Wellness Expo presented by Miraval offers a healthy (and free!) dose of all things holistic. Peruse hundreds of vendors, take part in free exercise classes, and generally detox before you retox.

Community Film Screenings — March 9-10
Rollins Theater and AFS Cinema open their doors for a series of community film screenings. Catch exclusive short films, documentaries, and work from up-and-coming filmmakers before they head to Hollywood. 

SXSW Interactive  — March 9-11
General Assembly hosts a series of free panels and workshops, which can be found here or by searching "general assembly." Listen in on discussions about designing your dream job, take part in a goal-setting crash course, and learn what it takes to craft "hella good" content.

SXSW Music — March 11-16
More than 1,700 bands from across the world playing in 90 venues across the city. While there is a pretty good chance you won't make it into the major headliners, there are literally hundreds of opportunities to catch the next big thing before they're, you know, the next big thing. And after all, isn't that what SXSW is about?

Second Play Stage March 13-16
Badge-less and missing out on your favorite band's official showcase? Never fear, Second Play Stage is here. Hotels around downtown are opening their doors to host intimate, stripped down performances from some of South by's buzziest acts. Check out the full schedule to see who's performing, or browse by hotel.

Flatstock 69 — March 14-16
SXSW's poster show returns. Vendors, artists, and graphic designers sell art and gig posters from thousands of bands, so chances are, you'll find one of your favorite performers.

SXSW Marketplace — March 15-17
A ballroom of the Austin Convention Center transforms into a mini-mall showcasing specialty brands. Brands like Goorin Bros. and Aviator Nation pop up with goods ranging from jewelry to socks to Longhorn gear.