32 ways to do SXSW for free in 2024

From dozens of free live concerts to days of packed, no-cost panels, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the major festival without a badge.

A band on stage, as seen from the front row to the left. Above the musicians, a tan shade cover looms.

South By San José has been a free SXSW tradition for 25 years.

Photo by ATXtoday

SXSW is an investment — an investment in amazing music, thought-provoking panels, and mind-boggling art showcases, but an investment, nonetheless.

The good news is, there are dozens of ways to enjoy one of Austin’s biggest festivals without a badge. Here are 32 events you can attend for free.

Live music

Pro tip: Check out a list of concerts by Austin artists on our roundup of every local musician performing at SXSW.

SX Soundcheck Saturday | Saturday, March 9 | Hotel Vegas, 1502 E. 6th St.

  • Grupo Fuego, Chief Cleopatra, Mamalarky, and more

Tito’s Shows Up | Monday, March 11 + Thursday, March 14-Saturday, March 16 | Love, Tito’s Retail Store, 215 Lavaca St.

  • Full lineup to be announced; announced artists include Aubrey Haddard, Eddie Angel, and Modern Sophia

Rolling Stone’s Future of Music | Tuesday, March 12-Friday, March 15 | ACL Live, 310 W. Willie Nelson Blvd. | RSVP required — admission to non-badge-holders will be given on a first-come, first-served basis

  • Tuesday: Teezo Touchdown, Veeze, Lola Brook, and Chase Shakur
  • Wednesday: Peso Pluma, Young Miko, Kevin Kaarl, and more
  • Thursday: Preacher, Pheelz, Flo Milli, and more
  • Friday: Faye Webster, Red Clay Strays, Jackie Venson, and more

Marshall Funhouse | Wednesday, March 13-Friday, March 15 | Parish, 501 Brushy St. | RSVP required

  • Wednesday: Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, Shannon and the Clams, Die Spitz, and more
  • Thursday: Dry Cleaning, Therapy?, Provoker, and more
  • Friday: The Black Angels, The Armed, Fugitive, and more

South By San José | Wednesday, March 13-Sunday, March 17 | Hotel San José, 1316 S. Congress Ave.

  • Daily lineup to be announced; Event lineup includes Golden Dawn Arkestra, Me Nd Adam, The Tiarras, and more

FLOODfest | Thursday, March 14 | Mohawk, 912 Red River St. | RSVP required

  • Chromeo, Hinds, Kneecap, and more
A sign with the SXSW logo and a map of auditorium shores takes up space to the left of the image, which depicts Auditorium Shores during SXSW. Crowds fill the grassy field, and a stage and the Austin skyline are visible in the background.

Hundreds of Austinites convene for SXSW’s free Community Concerts.

Photo by ATXtoday

The SXSW Community Concerts at Lady Bird Lake | Thursday, March 14-Saturday, March 16 | 800 W. Riverside Dr.

  • Thursday: Bob Schneider, Vallejo, Ian Moore, and more
  • Riders Against the Storm, Zapp featuring Bootsy Collins
  • Waco Brothers, Parker Woodland, Sugar Free Allstars, and more

FRIENDS:FOREVER | Thursday, March 14 + Friday, March 15 | Empire Control Room & Garage, 606 E. 7th St.

  • Thursday: thuy, Rei Ami, Nhạc Gãy, and more
  • Friday: Se So Neon, Audrey Nuna, Arexibo, and more

Spaceflight Records | Thursday, March 14-Saturday, March 16 | Central Machine Works, 4824 E. Cesar Chavez St.

  • Thursday: Kalu & The Electric Joint, Night Glitter, Slomo Drags, and more
  • Friday: Big Bill, SL Houser, Anastasia Hera, and more
  • Saturday: Garrett T. Capps & NASA Country, The Tender Things, Wil Cope, and more
Shoppers at a vintage booth at the Front Market

Shop from local creators at a SXSW pop-up from Future Front, which also hosts the Front Market.

Photo by ATXtoday

Expos, Exhibitions, and Pop-ups

Tulsa House | Friday, March 8-Saturday, March 9 | Augustine, 86 Rainey St. | RSVP required | Spend two days listening to live music and live DJ sets in-between panels on subjects like Indigenous representation in film and TV, AI’s role in remote work, and attracting top tech talent.

1A House | Friday, March 8-Sunday, March 10 | 340 E. 2nd St. | RSVP required | Watch live performances or tune into panels featuring Pulitzer-winning Laurence Wright + local drag queen Brigitte Bandit.

Black Future House | Friday, March 8-Sunday, March 10 | 1211 E. Cesar Chavez St. | RSVP required | This pop-up contains a photo booth, relaxation lounge, shops, and art exhibition in addition to hosting several panels throughout the weekend.

Audible Sound Experience | Friday, March 8-Sunday, March 10 | 3rd Street and Congress Avenue | Ride rides — including a Ferris wheel with gondolas sound-tracked to Audible content — play games, and win prizes at this carnival-inspired pop-up.

Sharpie X Paper Mate Studio | Friday, March 8-Sunday, March 10 | Icenhauer’s, 83 Rainey St. | RSVP required | Tune into a Q&A with Mindy Kaling, engage in a “doodle analysis,” or compete in several themed games at this free Rainey pop-up.

Wellness House | Saturday, March 9 | Other Racquet Social Club, 2717 Manor Rd. | RSVP required | Join influencer Jane Ko at this day full of wellness-centered panels, also featuring a morning workout and happy hour.

Equality Lounge | Saturday, March 9-Sunday, March 10 | Waller Creek Boathouse, 74 Trinity St. | RSVP required | Womens’ experiences take center stage at this pop-up, which features panelists from The Atlantic, “The Skinny Confidential,” The New York Times, National Geographic, and more.

Eclipsing | Saturday, March 9-Tuesday, March 12 | The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Dr. | RSVP required | Take a midday break with your own headphones on this curated “soundwalk,” which uses local recordings to tell a story as the user walks the trail along Lady Bird Lake.

SXSW Pop-Up Market | Sunday, March 10 | Waterloo Greenway, 1111 Red River St. | Check out the new mural by Ruben Esquivel and Kat Talley and shop good from women and LGBTQ+ creatives at this family + dog-friendly market.

Out by South East | Tuesday, March 12-Sunday, March 17 | Meanwhile Brewing, 3901 Promontory Point Dr. | Looking to avoid Downtown traffic? Head to south Austin for six days of programming at the popular local brewery, with activities ranging from live music to a vendor market.

Austin Industry Day at the Creative Industries Expo | Wednesday, March 13 | Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. | Take in hundreds of exhibitors displaying cutting-edge tech from around the world.

Flatstock 92 | Wednesday, March 13-Friday, March 15 | Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. | Concert posters curated from the American Poster Institute will be on display for the public.

All Things Food Summit | Thursday, March 14 | Barr Mansion, Ballroom, and Farmstead, 10463 Sprinkle Rd. | RSVP required | Huston-Tillotson University will co-host this summit featuring speakers, tastings, live performances, and film viewings.