Austin's Free Week returns with 10 venues and dozens of shows
It's never long that Ausitnites have to wait until the next music festival and right on cue, here it is. Free Week, the multi-venue local extravaganza in the Red River Cultural District (RRCD), has announced its return this January.
Not quite a full week, the concert series will take place from January 5-6, 2024 — but, hey, it's free.
Free Week is in its 21st year since it began at the legendary Emo’s in its original venue on Red River Street. Not sure if y'all noticed, but things in Austin definitely slow down after the endless summer and fall events, and RRCD hosts this annual winter series as a way to keep the gigs flowing.
Technically, Austinites do pay for these shows via donations to RRCD, their bar tabs, and anything else they might spend on while visiting the busy musical street.
Donations are also supplemented by corporate sponsors including Airbnb, the Austin Chronicle, KUTX 98.9 FM, the Downtown Austin Alliance, Moody Center’s Red River Rising, Red Bull, Resound Presents, SeeTickets, Showlist Austin, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and 365ThingsAustin, among others.
This financial arrangement is good for everyone involved: Austinites can see way more shows than they usually would in one weekend; choose a donation amount based on financial security and amount of enthusiasm; and take chances on local artists and venues they don't usually frequent.
Paradoxically, this series did so well in the winter that RRCD basically cloned it for the busier summer months, calling it Hot Summer Nights. Those who enjoyed this year's summer festivities are sure to find more they like in the winter installment.
Between the two events, RRCD estimates that tens of thousands of locals stop by each year. They also contract hundreds of local bands, so Austinites could easily get in a year's worth of musical exploration within those several nights.
This time, there are ten participating venues and "dozens of local musical acts," according to a press release. A lineup will come later, but it's time to save the date(s) to visit these venues:
- 13th Floor
- Cheer Up Charlies
- Chess Club
- Creek & Cave
- Empire Control Room & Garage
- Flamingo Cantina
- Stubb’s Bar-B-Q
- Swan Dive
- Vaquero Taquero
Fun stuff aside, RRCD also gets down to brass tacks with city officials, local organizations, and other important entities around town to support the music scene and the people who make it run. In the releases words, that means "promot[ing] the interests of musicians and venues, as well as Austin’s larger music ecosystem that continues to face an ever-evolving myriad of complex issues due to rapid downtown growth without cessation."
If those notes strike a chord, RRCD accepts donations year round at redriverculturaldistrict.org. More information is coming soon about the lineup and food and beverage deals during the event.