Go badgeless to the best free music showcases at SXSW 2023
Free at SXSW
No badge? No wristband? No problem – we’ve got you covered with some select SXSW parties that don’t require either. Take a look, and be sure to note which shows require an RSVP. We'll add shows as they come in, so check back here before you go.
Consider putting the money you saved on registration and entry toward tipping small bands. SXSW makes the largest chunk of many musician's income each year, especially if they're local.
Hotel Vegas and Volstead – March 10-14
While SXSW is a convenient time to see a ton of touring artists, it’s also a great chance to take in a lot of Austin-based acts, and the best place to do it in 2023 is at Hotel Vegas and Volstead this Friday, March 10 through Tuesday, March 14. These local-leaning events don’t require any sort of credential, and if you dip in and out of each of them, you’ll get to see a sizable portion of the great talent that our city has to offer.
- Friday, March 10 – The Do512 Smoke Show with The Octopus Project, Being Dead, Me Nd Adam, and others. You can also expect a pop-up from KG BBQ, samples from Hometown Hero, comedians, and lots more. Free. Doors at 6pm.
- Saturday, March 11 – SX Soundcheck Saturday with Golden Dawn Arkestra, Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band, Die Spitz, Deezie Brown, and more, as well as a full day’s worth of cumbia artists inside Hotel Vegas. Free until 7pm. Doors at noon.
- Sunday, March 12 – Side One Track One vs Austin Town Hall with Darkbird, Night Cap, Caleb De Casper, Jane Leo, The Stacks, and plenty more on a bill that features nearly 30 local bands. Free. Doors at noon.
- Monday, March 13 – Day one of Spring Break Boogie with A Giant Dog, Good Looks, Annabelle Chairlegs, Pleasure Venom, Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol, and a lot more. Free until 5pm. Doors at 1pm.
- Tuesday, March 14 – Day two of Spring Break Boogie with Die Spitz, Nuclear Daisies, Daiistar, Sailor Poon, Shooks, and others. Free until 5pm. Doors at 1pm.
Marshall Hair of the Dog - March 14
One of the more appropriately named day parties of this year’s fest, Marshall Hair of the Dog, will go down at the Mohawk on Tuesday, March 14. Local psych stars The Black Angels will headline a show that also has Be Your Own Pet, Sunflower Bean, and others on the bill. The party starts at noon. RSVP at mohawkaustin.com.
Lost Weekend at Mohawk & Empire – March 15-16
Brooklyn Vegan and Resound’s Lost Weekend is back for its fifth go-round, and it’ll be happening at the Mohawk on Wednesday, March 15 and at Empire on Thursday, March 16. Artists performing include Indigo De Souza, Protomartyr, Kiwi Jr., Eshu Tune (Hannibal Buress), and a ton more. Free with RSVP. See the full lineups at brooklynvegan.com.
South X San José – March 15-19
From March 15-19, South X San José will be back for its 22nd year in the Hotel San José and Jo’s Coffee parking lot. This free event features local vendors and a stacked lineup of acts that includes The Heavy Heavy, The Lemon Twigs, The Nude Party, Sir Woman, and lots more. Gates are at noon each day. See the full lineups at bunkhousehotels.com.
Stereogum at Cheer Up Charlie’s – March 16
Longtime music blog Stereogum is set to host a free party at Cheer Up Charlie’s on Thursday, March 16. The lineup features a slew of great indie artists that the site has previously recommended, like Bartees Strange, Algiers, Strange Ranger, Coco & Clair Clair, and others. Starts at noon. RSVP at stereogum.com.
Dr. Martens at Clive Bar – March 16-17
Head to Clive Bar on March 16 and 17 for a pair of free parties put on by Dr. Martens. These events will not only feature performances from Danny Brown, Balming Tiger, Dream Wife, Enumclaw, and others, but there will also be free tattoos by local artists Nick Freidline and Michael Williams. Doors for both days are at 1pm. RSVP at drmartens.com.
Community Concerts at Auditorium Shores – March 16-18
The SXSW Community Concerts are once again returning to Auditorium Shores. The free event, which is taking place March 16-18, will have a Beer Garden, food trucks, and performances from the likes of Thao, The Zombies, a variety of local brass bands, and more. Get full details at sxsw.com.