Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash

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.

Photo by Tye Truitt

SXSW's best and biggest free series takes the Outdoor Stage with lineup including The Zombies

play music, be free

Finding free events during South by Southwest is sometimes as simple as bookmarking a social media post or walking down the street, but those strategies are hit-or-miss to say the least. The easiest free music plans to commit to are always at the Outdoor Stage, one of the only official SXSW venues that welcomes visitors for free, and sets clear plans well in advance.

This year, the festival has seamlessly transitioned to naming the event rather than just the stage, using "Community Concerts at Lady Bird Lake." These public concerts from March 16-18 transform Auditorium Shores into one of the biggest venues of the entire festival, using the Austin skyline as a backdrop while both local and nationally-celebrated acts play. The lineup in 2022 featured both well-known and local bands including Mt. Joy, Heartless Bastards, and Golden Dawn Arkestra.

On Thursday, March 9, KUTX takes over programming as it has done on and off since 2007. This year's theme is ska, but the island genre only influences each set — performers from several genres including the blues, chiptune rap, and "billingual indie music for kids," will play their own music, plus at least one ska-flavored tune. This will be interesting when celebrated Austin guitarist Rosie Flores adapts her rockabilly style. Thao, an eclectic, folksy but funky solo artist from Oakland, closes out the night.

Fridays's shows are without theme, and only showcase three artists compared to Thursday's six. Afrobeat progeny Baba Kuboye (American nephew of Nigeria's late, great Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti) opens the day in a danceable way, followed by pop artist AJ Smith and vibes that couldn't be more different save for the general upbeat overlap. The Zombies — yes, those psych rock 60s icons — are currently touring with Smith, and will play Austinites home or onto their next plans (since all outdoor shows end at 7 pm).

Saturday is the last of the three-day mini-series, hosted by Honk TX (stylized HONK!TX), an Austin non-profit that brings street and brass bands to the Live Music Capital for free. This rowdy series will feature another six bands, this time all Austin's own, including the "undead" costumed Dead Music Capitol Band and the 25-person collective Minor Mishap Marching Band.

The full lineup for 2023's Community Concerts at Lady Bird Lake is as followed:

Thursday, March 16

  • Lucky Diaz
  • Mega Ran
  • Red Yarn & Aaron Nigel Smith
  • SaulPaul
  • Jonny Langford and the Silver Sands Roustabouts, and Rosie Flores
  • Thao

Friday, March 17

  • Baba Kuboye
  • AJ Smith
  • The Zombies

Saturday, March 18

  • Blowcomotion!
  • Dead Music Capital Band
  • Mazel Tov Kocktail Hour
  • Minor Mishap Marching Band
  • Moon Tower Brass Band
  • Yes Ma'am Brass Band

Attendees may bring a picnic or purchase food and drinks from local food trucks and a Beer Garden. More information about set times and other logistics is available at sxsw.com. Lineups are subject to change.

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Extravagant estate in West Austin hits the market for $4.25 million, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From a contemporary castle to show business, Austin was ready to be entertained. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. Extravagant estate in West Austin hits the market for $4.25 million. Look inside the stone behemoth with five bedrooms, a 60-inch cooking range, and an ornately-shaped pool.

2. 8 Austin entrepreneurs rank among Forbes' richest self-made women for 2023. With an estimated net worth at $4.8 billion, Thai Lee, of Austin, remains at the top of the list in Texas.

3. Controversial comedian Dave Chappelle plots out 4 Texas arena shows, including Austin. Since Chappelle's been in hot water, no cellphones, cameras, or recording devices will be allowed.

4. Austin pedals into the 5th-best ranking for naked biking among U.S. cities. Even though Austin is a great place to take a nude ride, locals will have to travel to Houston to participate in September.

5. Cheers cast reunites in Austin, plus more highlights from the ATX TV Festival. Austinites heard from stars, showrunners, writers, and more. Plus, visitors got to see some show previews.

Austin earned top 10 rank for highest number of build-to-rent homes last year


With the increasing demand for housing and rising popularity of constructing homes for rent, Austin has earned a top 10 position in a new analysis of American metro areas with the highest number of single-family rentals built for all of 2022.

A total of 324 build-to-rent homes were completed in Austin in 2022, which is a 10-year high, according to the study by RentCafe. The newest findings put the Texas Capital three places higher than in 2021, when the city ranked No. 13 in the nation.

"Austin was named the second fastest growing city in the U.S. by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise," the study's author wrote. "That came after the city recorded a 4.3 percent rise in its GDP in 2022 to $216 billion, following the Bay Area."

The study analyzed build-to-rent data from RentCafe's sister site, Yardi Matrix, for communities that had at least 50 single-family rental units.

Dallas nailed the rankings this year by earning the top spot with nearly 2,800 single-family rental units completed last year. Phoenix (which outpaced Dallas last year) ranked No. 2 with only 1,527 units completed. After Phoenix, single-family rentals in other American metro areas only went into the triple digits, with Atlanta, Georgia (No. 3) at 808, Greenville, South Carolina (No. 4) at 584, and Charlotte, North Carolina rounding out the top five with 475 units completed.

The metro areas that complete the top 10 for the most build-to-rent homes in 2022 include:

  • No. 6 – Detroit, Michigan
  • No. 7 – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • No. 8 – Panama City, Florida
  • No. 9 – Charleston, South Carolina
  • No. 10 – Austin, Texas

Austin had the seventh highest number of single-family rentals completed in the country within the last five years, totaling 1,096 units. The Texas cities that ranked higher were Dallas (No. 2) and Houston (No. 4). San Antonio ranked below Austin at No. 8. Phoenix took the No. 1 spot with over 6,000 build-to-rent homes completed in the same time period.

The study's findings support a growing demand for flexibility among renters who may not want the high cost and maintenance associated with home ownership, RentCafe says.

“More and more people are deciding they want the best of both worlds: the flexible lifestyle of the renter, with no maintenance commitments and costs, and the comfort and privacy offered by living in a house,” the study’s author wrote. “In this case, build-to-rent homes check all of the boxes, while high home prices and rising interest rates make them even more appealing.”

The number of single-family rentals is expected to continue rising dramatically in 2023. Currently, 945 units are under construction in Austin. Overall, there are 44,700 build-to-rent homes being built this year throughout the nation; three times more than the number of completed homes in all of 2022, the study says.

Shuttered Salvation Army shelter in downtown Austin will get new life

Salvation Army

When the Salvation Army shelter on East Eighth Street shut its doors back in April, Austin City Council member Zohaib "Zo" Qadri (District 9) said it was unfortunate to see as an Austin resident and leader.

"The Salvation Army kind of abruptly stated that they were pulling out without much of a notice to the residents of the shelter in the district – a shelter that largely houses or housed women and children," Qadri said. "So, you know, that was a huge disappointment for us."

Now the City of Austin has reached a compromise and solution that Qadri believes will help those experiencing homelessness. The Austin City Council on Thursday, June 8, approved a 12-month lease agreement for the former Salvation Army shelter that will cost more than $1 million.

The site will be operated by California-based nonprofit Urban Alchemy, which also provides services at the ARCH, or the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. The council also approved a contract for Urban Alchemy to add more funding, extend the ARCH program and run the former Salvation Army shelter, providing 150 beds.

Urban Alchemy will get more than $4 million.

Later this summer, City leaders will also consider a temporary emergency shelter that will provide around 300 more beds for people experiencing homelessness.

ECHO, or the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, estimates there are thousands of people experiencing homelessness in Austin. Since the city's camping ban was reinstated in May 2021, many of these individuals have spread out throughout the city or gone into hiding, making it harder to connect them with services.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.