In less than a week, South by Southwest (SXSW) will begin for the 28th year in Austin. The once tiny, independent music festival has mushroomed into an Interactive, Film and Music behemoth that spans 10 days a and draws thousands of attendees from all over the world. While there are hundreds of parties and events planned, our preview includes a handful of suggestions on where to find great live music during SXSW.

Our love of Austin knows no bounds, which is why there are a plethora of local bands performing in the lineups below. We made sure to include shows that do not require a badge or wristband and happen at some of our favorite spots in town. If you are visiting Austin for SXSW, make sure to schedule at least one event with Austin acts on the bill. Our musicians are some of the finest in the world.

For the most complete list of SXSW parties and official showcases, visit’s SXSW page. Fans can RSVP to many SXSW events directly from the Do512 site.

strang brew

Strange Brew 4 – March 16 – Hotel Vegas / Volstead Lounge

The Strange Brew event books a great lineup every year because it is curated by music blog, Covert Curiosity and Do512. If anyone knows good music it is these guys. Bop English (White Denim side project), Thee Oh Sees, Moon Duo and Roger Sellers are just some of the artists listed. NYC under-18 thrashers, Unlocking the Truth will be there too. The party takes place at Hotel Vegas and The Volstead on Austin’s East side. RSVP for free entry and get there early; this one always fills up fast.

He^RD & PayPal Music Tech Mashup - March 17 - Empire Control Room

He^RD & PayPal Music Tech Mashup – March 17 – Empire Control Room

On Tuesday He^rd and PayPal are hosting the Music Tech Mashup with a list of bands that is a virtual who’s who of Austin Music at Empire Control Room. Gary Clark Jr., Shakey Graves, Wild Child Hard Proof and Chipper Jones are just a few of the many bands on this bill. This is the first of several opportunities fans will have to sample some of the quality bands Austin has to offer.

Empire just remodeled the outside stage (garage) for SXSW and the improvements already made inside the venue are considerable. This party is free with RSVP and features a few national acts: Tuxedo (Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One), Daedalus and London Souls among others.

 Lagunitas CouchTrippin' - March 18 - Container Bar

Lagunitas CouchTrippin’ – March 18 – Container Bar

The Lagunitas Brewing Company put together a stellar national lineup for their Couch Trippin’ party at Container Bar in the Rainey Street area on March 18. One of our favorites, Delta Spirit returns to SXSW with soul singer, Charles Bradley, Heartless Bastards and garage rocker, King Tuff. This lineup has actually toured four cities: Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Seattle and Minneapolis before winding up in Austin.

RSVP at the Couch Trippin’ Eventbrite page for free entry.

Waterloo Records Day Parties - March 18-20 - Waterloo Records parking lot

Waterloo Records Day Parties – March 18-20 – Waterloo Records parking lot

Austin’s best-known record shop, Waterloo Records is hosting three days of shows in their parking lot with a full slate of bands to see. Their SXSW lineups are always solid and this year is no exception. We recommend checking out psych-rockers, Moon Duo if you did not catch them at Strange Brew 4. Other notables include Elle King, Ryan Bingham, METZ and Australia’s The Church.

No RSVP, badge or wristband required for these shows.

Auditorium Shores Shows - March 19-21

Auditorium Shores Shows – March 19-21

The largest crowds at SXSW will be the free Auditorium Shores shows on March 19-21 because of the fantastic lineups, skyline views and easy access. There is an all-Latin roster Saturday and Ryan Bingham headlines an Americana oriented evening Friday but we think the best option is first. Thursday features Austin bands, My Jerusalem and Spoon bookending performances by Mac McCaughan and Charles Bradley.

Fans do not need a wristband or badge but need to pick up a guest pass. You can register for a pass and find pick up locations at the SXSW Guest Pass page. Wristband and badge holders do not need a guest pass. Gates open at 3 p.m. Set times and more details are in the first link above.

KUTX Live at the Four Seasons - March 18-21

KUTX Live at the Four Seasons – March 18-21

For the early risers, public radio station, KUTX is hosting four mornings of bands, breakfast tacos and coffee in the ballroom at the Four Seasons beginning March 18. Schedule highlights like Quiet Company at 8 a.m. March 19 or The Bluebonnets featuring Kathy Valentine at 7 a.m. March 20 will make getting up early worth the effort. Tickets are $10. The event benefits Seaton Shivers Cancer Hospital. The full schedule and more details can be found on the KUTX website.

This article was brought to you by guest blogger, local music guru Greg Ackerman. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google + to keep up with the latest music information around town.

Fun is sure to be had at this year’s Meltdown with live music and entertainment for the entire family.

It’s spring break week in Austin, Texas. It also happens to be SXSW time! Want to be a part of the fun? Come on out to the 2nd Annual Family Music Meltdown.

The entire family can rock along with  Ralph’s WorldGina ChavezBig DonThe Que PastasThe Not-Its! and Koo Koo Kanga Roo!

Free and open to the community.

We’ll be updating the page Family Music Meltdown with more details as we get closer to the event.

When: March 18th

Time: 3:00 – 7:30 pm

Pan Am Park
2100 E. 3rd Street
Austin, Texas

And it rained and it rained. But that’s not going to stop the SXSW fun. The SXSW Gaming Expo is one of the many events during SXSW that is free and open to the public.


This expo presents a hand on gaming experience with product demos presented by the ultimate in gaming, Nintendo. This gaming expo is dedicated to the future of gaming, across mobile and console and shows that gaming is everywhere and there is something for everyone.

The expo activity that has me the most excited is “Karting Reimagined” which is a life-sized verison of Ninetendo’s Mario Cart, it’s pretty rad.

Admission: free

today, March 9th noon – 8:00 p.m.

Palmer Event Center
900 Barton Spring Road
Austin, Texas 78704

Photo Credit: SXSW

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It’s arrived; the weeklong Austin party has commenced. SXSW means something different to everyone, for some, it means  spending the week partying, for other’s networking, and some have the week planned out minute by minute while others just fly by the seat of their pants. This event seems like a pretty great kickoff to the week of wildness.


Are you in love with your Smartphone? We have all become Mobile Zombies. PPLCONNECT is hosting the crawl, they’re a software company that lets you SMS & call with your number from ANY device.

They’ll have professional makeup artists to help get you Zombiefied, plus drinks and snacks!

Get ready for a Zombie takeover!

When: Today, March 7th

Time: 3:30pm

Brush Square (O. Henry Museum)
409 E. 5th Street
Austin, Texas 787-1

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For those of us that have done the SX thing before, we’ve learned a few things over the years. One of those things is to avoid driving downtown at all costs. If you think everyday Austin traffic is bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Even if you’re lucky enough to find a spot, parking prices are astronomical and forget about moving your car.


So the key here is alternative transportation. A bike is by far the best way to get around during SXSW, the problem is that not everyone has a bike, or maybe they live too far from downtown to get it there. This is where Austin startup Spokefly comes in handy. They are one of the hottest startups in Austin, pitching at the SXSW demo day this Friday,

Think of it like a ‘car2go’ system for bikes, expect they’re a peer to peer bike sharing program. People who own bikes that they don’t use everyday, have dusted them off from the corner of the garage and listed them on Spokefly, making money when members ride their bikes. This has created a network of bikes to rent all over Austin for bike-less people like me to use!


Once you sign up on the site, choose which bike you want rent, unlock the lock on the bike using the combination shown in the app, and off you go. You DON’T need to return it to the place of rental, when you are done just lock it up to a bike rack, end your ride using the app or website, and be on your way! Their Android app and website is available now, with an iOS app available in the next few days.

As a bike-less Austinite who plans to leave her car parked for the week plus of SXSW, the discovery of Spokefly comes just in time.

They’re currently offering a SXSW Rider Pass for $59.99 that allows you unlimited rides, with a two hour limit per ride, for 7 days starting from the day of your first ride. There’s a limited number of SXSW passes available to make sure there are enough bikes to ride, so get one early! Note that SXSW passes are restricted to downtown and UT’s campus area. This includes South Congress/South Lamar, Barton Springs, East Austin, West/North Campus, and Downtown. Basically everywhere you would go during SXSW.

For you locals, they have monthly subscriptions available for $14.99 (5 rides), 29.99 (unlimited rides), and 79.99 (unlimited rides + premium bikes). You can be a bike rider, without being a bike owner in Austin!

Spokefly also put together this great list of ways to get around Austin during SXSW, check it out for your Austin transportation needs:

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SXSW recently announced their annual call for volunteers.  This is your chance to be in the middle of all the action without spending a dime!  They need volunteers for all sorts of positions, and  each year more than 3,000 volunteers make this festival happen.


You can volunteer on the Conference Crew or the Production Crew.  The responsibility and perks are very different for each, so check out which one is more up your alley.

Depending on the number of hours you volunteer, you can earn a SXSW film, interactive or music wristband.  For more information on the conference crew, visit  For information on the production crew, visit  Either way, it’s a sweet hook up. There are openings for all sorts of positions from transportation, photography and greeting, to volunteering for a charity golf tournament.  It’s a great experience and opportunity!

This is one of the coolest volunteering gigs in town.

If you want to volunteer, you need to register online or attend the volunteer call on January 18th or January 29th.

January 18 th 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

January 29th  6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Austin Convention Center
500 E. Cesar Chavez
Ballroom ABC
Austin, Texas 78701

If you are unable to attend the Volunteer Call or need any information about volunteering, please contact a SXSW Volunteer Coordinator at  or 512/467-7979 as soon as possible.

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For anyone who actually lives in town, the SXSW experience is not a quintessential one. Austin…changes. It becomes instantly bigger, slower, and completely over-stimulating. While SXSW tourists get quite a week of free booze, free merch, free music, and plenty to do, they’re not really getting a genuine Austin experience, and many of them probably leave town with some minor misconceptions.

1. Everything is FREE


Despite what many folks from out of town might think, not everything is always free in Austin. Somehow over the last few years, it’s become a necessity to provide and endless amount of free libations to your attendees. Such is not always the case. We’re not the most expensive city in town, but when we do pay, we get our money’s worth with great food, premium cocktails, and tons of music worth paying for.

2. That it’s always 75 degrees


The weather during SXSW could not have been any better. Towards the beginning it was a little rainy and near the end it started getting a little bit warm, but right in SXSW Music’s sweet spot, the clouds parted, the breeze blew and a mild 75 degrees made the SXSW experience an even more enjoyable one. Sadly, in a few short weeks, Austinites will be dealing with temperatures in the 90s. Hope you all enjoyed it while it lasted.

3. Stubb’s is the only place to get BBQ in town

foodFor our non-foodie tourists, Austin’s bustling boutique BBQ scene including Franklin and J. Mueller’s was probably hard to spot from dirty 6th. However, several hordes walked by Stubb’s blinking sign and wandered in thinking that they were getting the “best” that Austin has to offer. Not to knock Stubb’s, but there are several other unique establishments that Austin has to offer, so don’t get too comfortable.

4. Metal and Lace is a staple of the Austin music scene.


During SXSW, everything turns into a venue, even giant vending machines. Folks who stream into town for their latest music fix might be under the impression that Metal and Lace, the reinvented Headhunters on the corner of 8th and Red River, is one of the bastions for Austin’s primo bands and events, but it’s still the same Headhunters. Providing street-level music for the street-level man, Metal and Lace is still the same ole dive it always has been, where brand spanking new bands go to get their chops and beer selection is slim and relatively cheap.

5. Austin’s Downtown is a Mess of Horrible Lines


During SXSW, 6th street essentially becomes a massive, crowded sidewalk. Every available parking lot becomes a venue. Parking skyrockets to $25/day. Our out of town friends probably spent a good deal of their time dodging in and out of other people and then waiting in lines around the corner from the venue. Well, Austin’s not always so obtuse, so next time you come back, expect the easy-going, funky town you’ve always heard rumors about.

This post was provided by Chris Galis of Realty Austin, experts in Austin real estate.

Happy SXSaturday everyone. If you are looking for another free music showcase, Austin Java is the place to be.


Both the Barton Springs location and the Parkway location will have a stage set up with live music all afternoon. These locations are great because they have fantastic outdoor (and indoor) seating and this weather is perfect for sitting outside. Austin Java’s locations are easy walking distance to downtown so they would be a great place to stop and relax, get some great food and listen to live music. Austin Java’s showcases are free and open to the public.

When: today, March 16th

Time: noon – 11:00 p.m.

Austin Java (Barton Springs & Parkway locations)
Austin, Texas

If you are looking to listen to some live music and enjoy some of the fun of SXSW but do not want to attempt to go downtown, Guero’s on South Congress has a great line-up on their outdoor stage.


South Congress was alive with the energy and excitement that comes along with SXSW yesterday. It is a great alternative to headed downtown. This stage is free & open to the public.

Today their live music line up starts at noon.

When: today – Sunday, March 17th

Time: noon – 8:00 p.m.

Guero’s Taco Bar Outdoor Stage
1412 South Congress Ave.
Austin, Texas 78704

Yes , you can still enjoy the madness of SXSW without the luxury of a wristband/badge. The free shows are at Auditorium Shores are on of the best things for those that do not have credentials.

Free music plus the city as a backdrop are a sure good time.

As one that has experienced the free shows before here are some pointers:

  • Parking is NOT easy. Take a cab, ride a bike, get dropped off, walk. If you are there early you may be able to park at Palmer Event Center (yet you have to pay to park).
  • Be prepared for a crowd but it is a great time!
  • If you don’t have  a specific show in mind that you want to see late afternoon/early evening is a great time to head out because watching the sky turn from day to night with Austin as a backdrop is pretty incredible.
  • Also, feel fee to tag me on instagram @365thingsaustin so I can see your pictures!
The Shins. Courtesy of Jordan Naylor.

The Shins. Courtesy of Jordan Naylor.

Here is the line-up for the next few days.

Thursday March 14:

Friday, March 15 (Gates open at 3:30pm):

Saturday, March 16:

Auditorium Shores
800 W. Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78704