SXSW swings into Austin’s Spring Break

Kerry Madden, Reporter

It’s no secret that Austin is a hub for fun attractions that draws locals and tourists alike. Now in it’s 30th year, South by Southwest, or SXSW, is an interactive conference that turns the entirety of downtown Austin into even more of a bustling center of music and entertainment than it is on a regular day. Though music is what most people associate SXSW with, the interactive includes various other aspects such as gaming, film, business and keynote speakers. March 11-20, SXSW will take over downtown Austin and emanate from every crevice of the city. Though it is a festival that has events specific to badges that cost from $525 upwards to $1,745, there is still plenty of ways to take advantage of the festival at no cost at all.

SXSW Guest Passes are the key to being a part of the festival without dumping out your wallet. Available on site of events or online at, guest passes allow people to attend the free events the conference offers, and there’s plenty of them. At no cost to you, you can attend Southby’s gaming expo, outdoor film screenings at the long center, flatstock, the music gear expo, SX Create and the outdoor concert stage at Lady Bird Lake.

The outdoor stage at Lady Bird Lake is the main free music attraction for Austinites to attend. The stage will hold concerts starting the 17 and will run until the 19. Day two and day three’s artist lineup has been released on the SXSW website and includes bands such as Wolfmother, Coheed and Cambria, and Grupo Fantasma. As for day one, the lineup has yet to be announced. Local radio stations KGSR and KUTX will both hold artist showcases the mornings of March 16-19 at The W and Four Seasons Hotels respectively. For a $5 donation at the W, you can enjoy artists including The Avett Brothers, Lucius, Ra Ra Riot, and BORNS. For a $10 donation at the Four Seasons, artists include White Denim, Hayes Carll, Wild Belle, and David Wax Museum. Additionally, music stages pop up anywhere and everywhere possible, from whole foods, to Waterloo and parks. Nevertheless, during Southby, finding live music is as easy as picking a direction to walk in. If you go downtown, you’ll find music.

Amongst all the music, other parts of the convention such as SX Create, Flatstock, Southbites and Keynote speakers are in full swing at the convention center and the rest of the city. SX Create will take place March 11-13 at the Palmer Event Center. According to the website, this entity of the convention is full of “hands on excitement.” Attendees can expect interactive events from 3D printing to drones. March 17-19, Flatstock 53 will showcase band gig posters in aisles and aisles of artists’ booths. The venders sell prints of their posters, so it’s a great event for art lovers and shoppers alike. Additionally, Austin is known for its quirky and crave worthy food trailers. South Congress used to be the place to go for all your food trailer desires until the hotspot was disbanded due to new construction. Now, at Southbites trailer park, the best of the best are being rounded together on Driskill street to optimize your meal amazingness. Although it is not a free endeavor, I feel obligated to mention that keynote speakers at the festival this year include President Obama and the First Lady. Even though you might not see them in person, you can still have the excitement of the possibility that they could be mere blocks away from where you stand.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a lot of fun. These free events happening during SXSW will pack you spring break with Austinite fun. This is only the beginning; a full list of free events offered during the festival can be found at Take advantage of your proximity to Austin! Plan out your week or go with the flow, either way, you don’t want to miss SXSW.