SXSW 2015
Unofficial SXSW Guide

Our picks for the biggest free parties and unofficial events at SXSW

Our picks for the biggest free parties and unofficial events at SXSW

Austin Photo Set: Chad_Mohawk_SXSW_march 2013_14
Vans at The Mohawk is just one of the many free, unofficial attractions at SXSW. Photo by Chad Wadsworth/Butchershop Creative

SXSW is a massive menagerie of parties, mini-fests, music showcases and free stuff. We know it can all be overwhelming, so here are our top picks for some of the biggest, craziest, unofficial shindigs at SXSW. RSVP now, plan ahead and get there early.

Spotify House
This annual favorite is a hot spot for big acts and free treats. Look forward to performances by Run the Jewels, Stromae, Ryan Bingham, The Vaccines, Twin Shadow and Houndmouth, just to name a few.
Sunday, March 15 - Friday, March 20 at 901 E. Sixth St.

The Onion & AV Club present Manic Monday
It's just another Manic Monday! Courtney Barnett, Real Estate, Wooden Wisdom (a.k.a. Elijah Wood and Zach Cowie), METZ and more will be taking over Red 7. Plus TGI Fridays will be providing food.
Monday, March 16 at Red 7

Do512 Family Picnic
Escape the downtown chaos of SXSW and head south for the annual Do512 Family Picnic featuring local food trucks, a playground, plenty of kid-friendly activities and (drum roll, please) tons of parking. The lineup includes The Suffers, The Tontons, Boss Street Brass Band, Groundwork Music Orchestra with more yet to be announced. Bonus: This event is BYOB.
Tuesday, March 17 at Midway Food Park

House of Vans
The famous traveling venue returns to the Mohawk for five days of fun. Everyone is invited to the free day parties with showcasing bands like Cathedrals, BORNS, ODESZA, Windows 98 (a.k.a. Win Butler from Arcade Fire) and Migos as well as a one-day local lineup courtesy of Fun Fun Fun Fest. Priority is given to SXSW badge and wristband holders for the night parties, but tickets will be available for purchase at the door if there's still room left.
Tuesday March 17 - Saturday, March 21 at the Mohawk

Hype Hotel
This Hype Machine mini-fest is now in its 10th year. Some of your favorite music bloggers help curate five days worth of great bands including Spoon, Hudson Mohawke, Best Coast, Ryan Hemsworth and tons more.
Tuesday March 17 - Saturday, March 21 at Fair Market

The StubHub Music Experience
Culture Collide and StubHub are teaming up for a little party over at Clive Bar. Enjoy performances and interviews by The War on Drugs, Portugal. the Man, Future Islands, MS MR and The Mowgli's, just to name a few.
Tuesday March 17 - Saturday, March 21 at Clive Bar

South By San Jose
If you want something a little more laid back (but just as fun), head over to Hotel San Jose for four days of live music from the likes of The Church, The Ting Tings, Surfer Blood, Gang of Four, Ray Wylie Hubbard, as well as wares from local vendors.
Wednesday, March 18 - Saturday 21 at Hotel San Jose

Pandora Den
Now in its fourth year, Pandora returns to The Gatsby for another stacked lineup, including Wyclef Jean, The Black Angels, San Fermin and CAZZETTE in addition to a full day of Americana music. You can get a little sneak preview on the Pandora station.
Wednesday, March 18 - Saturday 21 at The Gatsby

The IFC Fairgrounds
It's a music festival! It's a carnival! It's a state fair! It's a little bit of everything at the IFC Fairgrounds. Enjoy games, rides, food truck fare and music including performances from Twin Peaks, Rubblebucket and Colony House.
Thursday, March 19 - Saturday, March 21 at Palm Park

Quantum Collective Southwest Invasion
Enjoy epic tunes (and epic views) from the rooftop plaza of the flagship Whole Food Market during the two days of the Southwest Invasion with The Zombies, Big Data, Sheepdogs and Jukebox the Ghost, as well as local loves like Zeale, The Wind + The Wave and Walker Lukens.
Friday, March 20 - Saturday, March 21 at the Whole Foods Market Flagship

The FADER Fort
Things are all shook up over at The FADER Fort. This year the popular party is now invite-only, so keep an eye on those inboxes. Though The Fort is still technically free, this year priority goes to SXSW badge and wristband holders.