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No SXSW badge? No problem with these free events

Join the crowds for free music at the Waterloo Records Day Parties during South by Southwest. AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2011

For those who remain badgeless for SXSW, the conference does offer some free events via a guest pass you can order online at

The pass allows access to SXSW Create from March 10-12, an event geared toward DIY enthusiasts and artists; a March 11-12 Job Market, “General Assembly + SXSW Present” sessions on tech fundamentals and business skills for musicians; three sets of outdoor screenings at the Long Center City Terrace on March 11, 13 and 14; and free concerts at the Outdoor Stage at Auditorium Shores on March 16-18.

Other non-badge things to look out for: free food, on-the-street swag giveaways (cellphone chargers and Koozies aplenty), public installations to promote tech brands and TV shows such as “Twin Peaks” and “Better Call Saul,” and hundreds of no-badge-required side parties, concerts, mini conferences and demos of games and virtual reality/augmented reality gear.

And, oh yeah, a show called “Animal Kingdom” is bringing an entire beach (with surfing) to downtown.


March 15-18: Waterloo Records Day Parties

Austin’s famous record shop, Waterloo, hosts epic day parties every year in the parking lot in front of their store. You’ll be seeing a lot of these bands — Minus The Bear, Chicano Batman, PWR BTTM, Cherry Glaserr — at a lot of the other free parties around town, but don’t you want to tell people you saw Austin legends Spoon play a set in the parking lot of Austin’s legendary record shop? Yeah, thought so. Also, for you millennial kids wanting some serious nostalgia: Jojo. Yeah, that Jojo.

March 15-18: South by San Jose

Hotel San Jose and Jo’s Coffee are two of the most Instagram-worthy spots in Austin, and they’ve become among the most popular stops during SXSW thanks to day parties featuring live music and local vendors. No RSVP needed, just show up and enjoy the sweet sounds of trippy psych rockers Temples, Austin soul singer Black Joe Lewis and local country singer Emily Gimble, who previously played in Asleep At The Wheel and is the granddaughter of Johnny Gimble, legendary Texas fiddle player and original member of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys.

March 16: Bloody Mary Morning presented by KLRU and Austin City Limits

If the free Shiner beer, Tito’s Bloody Marys and Tacodeli breakfast tacos till they run out aren’t enough to get you to this annual party in the GSD&M Courtyard, then the music should be: San Diego blues-rockers Little Hurricane, trance-y, dance-y quartet Sundara Karma and, of course, Lizzo will get the party going even though it’s an early morning.

There’ll be lots more pop-up installations and side parties. Check out Austin360’s side parties database at, keep an eye on the @360sxsw Twitter account and check for all the latest news.