Best SXSW Events to Make the Trip to Austin for
Once a year, thousands upon thousands of people transcend on Austin for one and a half weeks of hundreds of events surrounding film, music and speakers. SXSW is one of the most fun times of the year in our opinion. Why? Because the city comes alive with activity, it’s usually the first warm week of the year, and because of the word, FREE!
Unlike most other festivals, you don’t actually have to purchase a ticket to enjoy SXSW. So many brands, bars, retail shops and hotels host their own unofficial events for the public to enjoy. In the past, we’ve seen Spoon, Dashboard Confessional, Third Eye Blind, Brandi Cyrus, Midland and French Montana around town, for free! Usually, we just wander the city and stop in spots we like, and see what they have going on! And then there are also micro festivals like Luck Reunion and Revival, that do charge a ticket, but provide some of the coolest experiences!
So what are the highlights of SXSW? After a couple years under our belt, these are what we most looking forward to!
New this year, Revival Experience is excited to invite just a very small group of 500 people to Camp Lucy to enjoy a one-day mini immersive music experience of Americana and Country, featuring Shakey Graves and Nathaniel Rateliff. There will be complimentary food and drinks, activations and more, among the live music on this beautiful ranch outside of Austin!
$500+ | website
south x San Jose
The amazing Hotel San Jose is bringing back its annual FREE multi-day music festival, South x San Jose. Held in its parking lot next to Jo’s Coffee, you’ll experience dozens of bands and singer/songwriters, local vendors and good times! The music begins at noon and goes all day long, and their mini festival is always free. If it’s warm enough out, head inside the hotel property too, and enjoy a frozé by the pool!
AUSTIN FRIED CHICKEN REVIVAL
Lucy’s Fried Chicken brings four days of live music all day to their South Congress location on the patio! It’s kid friendly and totally free to attend - no RSVP required! And there will be fried chicken and cold beer awaiting your arrival!
free | WEBSITE
Luck Reunion is hands down one of our favorite days of the year! Willie Nelson invites a few thousand people to his ranch where a mini Western town-movie set lies, to enjoy a one-day music festival. Per the description on the website, “the goal is to attract and celebrate musicians, artisans, and chefs, who like the outlaws and outliers before them, follow their dreams without compromise.” There’s Americana and American roots music throughout the day on multiple stages, interactive fun, food trucks, complimentary drinks and, of course, the legendary Willie Nelson closing the day out!
$100 | WEBSITE
3rd Annual CinderBLOCK PARTY
Our other favorite day of the year! The annual CinderBLOCK PARTY from local Dallas music production company, Cinderblock is BACK and bigger than ever! Imagine a music festival mixed with a pool party mixed with all the free drinks and vendors - that’s what you’ll experience at this party, taking place 20 minutes outside of Austin at a beautiful mansion on Saturday March 16th!
Free with rsvp | website
SXSW PUPPY PARTY
Join Tito’s, Bumble and PrideBites are back for their annual puppy party benefitting Austin Pets Alive! Taking place the last day of SXSW at Lustre Pearl on Rainey St, there will be doggy photo booths, St. Patrick Day surprises, awesome drawings, complimentary doggie snack samples and a free drink if you show Bumble your profile!
FREE WITH RSVP | website
Just across the street from Whole Foods, you’ll find one of the best record stores in the county: Waterloo Records. During the last three days of SXSW, Waterloo Records also sets up a free multi-day music festival in its parking lot! Via one huge stage, you’ll enjoy some great live acts…two years ago, we saw Spoon perform!