Great events while staying on budget.
Every year SXSW has many free official events that are easy to get into. I am gonna highlight some of them. Here is a link to all the official free SXSW events. In past years I recommended the free Mazda cars leaving the convention center..Mercedes-Benz is the new sponsor so not sure if those are available. Also, all events listed in this blog are free when using the SXSW Guest Pass if you don’t have a badge. Enjoy!
One of the little known facts about SXSW is that all the Comedy shows are FREE to the public after badges/wristbands have been admitted, if the venues aren’t full. Unlike films and music showcases, Comedy doesn’t charge those without a badge. Simply line up in the “Standby” line at the venue, and 10-15 minutes before the show, you’ll find out whether or not you can get in to the show. See the complete schedule here. Your best bet to get into a show is at Esther’s Follies, since it is the larger venue…but try your luck at any show you’re interested in seeing!
One of my favorite SX events every year are the free shows at Auditorium Shores. I have seen so many great bands on this stage during SX over the last decade including Garth Brooks last year. They have made it bigger and better the last few years since The Strokes played there a few years ago and overpacked the place. Get there early so you can get a good spot. If you have a badge, you can get a free shuttle ride over to the park, and they have a private area off to the right where you can get bleacher seats and in past year free beer and Titos drinks!
Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake Presented by MGM Resorts | March 15 – 17 from 4pm-10pm (View Entry Conditions and Rules)
is FREE and open to the public!
March 10-11. For the first time, SXSW is hosting the SXSW Wellness Expo dedicated to fueling your mind, body, and soul. Occurring over two days at the Palmer Events Center, this exhibition brings together thousands of SXSW attendees interested in healthy living and companies in the continually growing health and wellness industry. For more info visit here.
Saturday, March 10 | 11:00–6:00pm
Sunday, March 11 | 11:00–6:00pm
Palmer Events Center
If you have never been to a movie on the long center lawn, it is a great way to spend a late afternoon in downtown Austin. Take a blanket and your favorite food and beverage and watch a movie under the stars. SXSW badges can get here by using the free shuttles from the convention center.
SX will show free movies during March 12th at 8pm presented by Cartoon Network.
For more info click here.
Basically, this is a huge poster show where you can see the world’s best poster art as well as purchase it. I have never personally purchased anything so I am not sure if you need to bring your own tubes, but I visit flatstock at least once during SX to see all the awesome artwork. For more info click here.
Thursday, March 15 | 12:00pm – 6:00pm
Friday, March 16 | 11:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday, March 17 | 11:00am-6:00pm
Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 4, Level 1
Now in its third year, the Job Market Stage will feature talks from industry leaders covering the latest trends, techniques and perspectives in the world of talent acquisition. For more info click here.
Saturday, March 10 | 10:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday, March 11 | 10:00am – 5:00pm
Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 1
Join General Assembly and SXSW at the Palmer Event Center for 2 days of FREE classes on today’s hottest tech topics and desired skills. Saturday March 10 and Sunday March 11, you’ll have access to some of our most popular classes in web development, data analytics, data science, digital marketing, business development, user experience design, product management and more. You’ll learn new skills from seasoned practitioners and leave with the know-how to meet the next milestone in your professional life.
No badge or wristband needed to attend. You can sign up via this link.
March 10–11, | 11:00am–4:30pm
Palmer Events Center 2nd floor. (900 Barton Springs Road)
SXSW Marketplace brings together local Austin boutiques and hand-selected national and global brands to create a unique shopping experience at the epicenter of SXSW.
SXSW Marketplace is open to all badge types and the general public with the free SXSW Guest Pass.
More info available here.
Thursday, March 15 | 12:00pm – 6:00pm
Friday, March 16 | 11:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday, March 17 | 11:00am – 6:00pm
Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 4, Level 1
Although the space has moved a bit farther east to 1501 E. 7th St, it is once again a more intimate, invite-only event. But last year, small space did NOT mean smaller acts, as Lizzo, Cardi B, and Bishop Briggs rocked the stage.
The FADER FORT welcomes Pabst Blue Ribbon and Smirnoff Vodka as a new sponsors, who join past sponsors Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and vitaminwater® to keep attendees refreshed! They also welcome new sponsors New Balance, SPiN, and Apple Music’s Beats 1. Prepare for an amazing week if you are among the lucky invitees. FADER FORT is happening March 14-16…so stay tuned for updates!
One of the greatest things about living in Austin is SXSW: that magical week in March when technology, film, and music combine to create a tangible energy in our beloved city. If you’re reading this post, then you definitely know what SXSW is, and you’ve probably experienced it. So welcome, settle in for a long, but informative, read.
First things first… remember that SXSW is a marathon, not a sprint. Your body, your friends, and your spirit will thank you if you live by that motto all week. If you take nothing else away from this post, let it be that. Slow your roll. Stop and enjoy the week. Pace yourself!
SXSurvival Hacks for ALL!
Tricks for just getting through the week unscathed… or relatively alive anyway.
Speaking of the Convention Center… there are a TON of free, clean bathrooms inside! Most hotel lobbies also have lovely bathrooms, and because so many people are going in and out of all these downtown hotels, no one will stop you from using their facilities if you’re not staying there.
Pack the essentials.
A cross-body bag or backpack can store all these items, as well as any swag you might collect throughout the day.
Getting downtown, parking, getting home safe
If you’re driving yourself…
Take Public Transpo or Use Ride Sharing Apps
I Have a Badge… So Now What?!
First off, DON’T be an idiot and keep your credit cards/photo ID inside the plastic badge sleeve. Taking that thing in and out of that is a great way to lose your badge, lose your ID/cards, or make it more difficult to scan your badge at official venues.
Your admittance priority into events is dependent on what type of badge you will have. Most venues will have two lines: one for Priority Access and one for Secondary Access.
All official events will have capacity limits of course, so your badge will not get you into events that are at capacity, and there are a few, rare private or ticketed events that even your badge alone is not enough to get you into.
Create a Schedule with a Plan A, B, C, and D.
Best Kept Secrets for Badgeholders
There are a few insider tricks I’ve learned over many years of SXSW’ing, through trial and error, and some by pure happy accident!
Interactive parties tend to be overlooked by those who still think SXSW is just all about music. Often, these are great networking events with loads of free booze and food. Some of the best parties I’ve been to are Interactive parties. Those tech people know how to go hard! The Interactive closing party is at Stubb’s, and has always featured some HUGE acts (Ludacris, Deadmau5, Jimmy Eat World), not to mention an open bar. At Stubb’s! Those drinks are usually like $7 or more a pop! There are SO many day and night parties during Interactive. So take advantage of this!
Film panels often highlight specific films, and will feature the filmmakers and entire casts. These are often intimate settings with Q&A portions, so you can get up close to pick the brains of your favorite filmmakers or TV stars.
Inside the Austin Convention Center, in the 4th Floor ballrooms, are the music day stages. Super intimate settings feature artists both well-known and up-and-coming. These shows are a great way to see that band you love, but maybe conflicts with another band you love later in the week! The shows are never full, and you can always get a great spot up front, out of the elements, and the sound is always fantastic.
What if I Just Want to do All the FREE Stuff?!
If you’re a Baller ATX friend and follower… you probably can’t afford a badge (although you should have taken our advice back in January when we posted about volunteering!) But don’t fret… there are ways to do SXSW right…even if you’re broke!
RSVP till your fingers hurt.
There are so many sites, Facebook groups, etc. that list free parties if you DON’T have a badge. So if you don’t take my first piece of advice, then do this. In fact, Baller ATX has a handy list to aid in your RSVPing.
Register for a SXSW Guestpass.
This free wristband will allow you to experience a lot of SXSW, and the free “official” events have expanded over the years! New this year, the Guestpass allows you entry into the 2-day Wellness Expo at the Palmer Events Center. The most popular event you can attend with the Guestpass are the free outdoor shows at Lady Bird Lake. SXSW brings amazing bands to this stage each year.
Pace yourself, be SAFE, and have FUN. If you’re anything like me, SXSW is your Christmas, birthday, and Mardi Gras all rolled into one amazing week. Make it count, make it last, and make it memorable. But most importantly make it safe so you can make it out again next year! And the year after that and the year after that…
Sxsw 2018. BallerATX.com
Free food, free drinks, free music, free movies. We list more free SxSw Rsvp events than any other page. And we will never charge you for something that is already free and on the internet. We do this for free every year for all of our friends and followers. Bookmark this link, and also make sure you also follow us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ballerATX
We post free events in the Austin area all year long on our facebook!
When you think of SXSW, you think of the parties, the shows, the drinks, and the FUN! And the best way to experience everything SXSW has to offer is to have a badge. But how do you get a badge on a budget?! VOLUNTEER for SXSW. I know what you’re thinking. “I don’t have enough time to volunteer! So many hours! It’s too much work!” But no worries… You’re an adult. You’re smart. You’re capable.
Make your schedule work and sign up to volunteer. You work some (mostly easy) shifts, you get a badge. A badge most people pay WELL over $1500 for. It’s almost unbelievable! There are still plenty of crews who need volunteers, so head on over to volunteer.sxsw.com to learn more. There’s also a Volunteer Call this weekend at the Austin Convention Center, Ballrooms ABC. Saturday, January 27th from 3-5pm. Get down there and sign up!
You’ll get into SO many parties, lounges, panels, films, shows, etc. that you wouldn’t have if you didn’t have that badge. RSVPing can only get you so far… so help out, get a badge, and have the best SXSW ever!
The third and final day. I must admit that I am very sad to see this epic party come to a close. Day 3 at the WIRED Café included celebrity guests Holland Taylor (Mr. Mercedes), David Harbour and Matthew Modine (Stranger Things), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy), Graham McTavish (Preacher), Ricky Whittle (American Gods) and more! DJ Artistic helped bring the house down by starting an amazing dance party worthy of any good con. I’ve been to countless parties for SXSW with some of the biggest brands sponsoring them and Wired is king among them. Thank you for having us out a our first comic and showing us Texans a great time.
What a day we had at the Wired Cafe, costume dance-off and cake, what more could you ask for? Day 2 at the WIRED Café included a special celebration where Jamie Chung (The
Gifted) and Nicholas Thompson (WIRED Editor-in-Chief) cut the 10th Anniversary cake
to the tunes of happy birthday while guests cheered with a champagne toast.
Other celebrity guests in attendance included, Jimmi Simpson (Westworld), Caleb
McLaughlin and Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), Tim Roth (Twin Peaks), James Van Der
Beek (What Would Diplo Do?) and more!
*photo credit by Terry Flemings
We started our day off right with some delicious bites and cold drinks at the annual Wired Cafe. The opening day of WIRED Café included celebrity guests, Justin Theroux (Lego Ninjago), Dave Franco (Lego Ninjago), Katheryn Winnick (Vikings),the Teen Wolf (Tyler Posey) and Timeless (Abigail Spencer) casts and more! We’ve been to a lot of events and parties through out the years but Wired Cafe has really out done themselves. We cant wait to see what or most importantly, who day two will bring.
*photo credit to Terry Flemings.
I personally didn’t get to see too many films at this years Fantastic Fest, but this film is one of the best I’ve seen since 2012. Before I begin, Ballers, you must first understand the amount of work that was put into this film. Takahide Hori has spent nearly 7 years creating this stop-motion animated masterpiece with little to no help. The visuals alone look as though he had backing from some big production company, but he did it all himself. That alone is an impressive feat but that’s not what makes this film fantastic. Hori first hooks us with a juicy sci-fi plot, humans achieved near immortality but lost the ability to procreate, so clones were created to help with menial tasks. Eventually, the clones rebel and move underground. Pretty good so far, then he skips us to 1300 years in the future, humans are dying and need to go underground to see how the clones have managed to survive and evolve. Reading that description in the fantastic fest program had me hooked. Once the film began I did have some reservations about the stop motion being clunky but was surprised at how well animated and smooth the characters and creatures moved. Not only did the visuals keep me interested but the soundtrack used was top notch, especially the action scenes. The story was paced pretty well and was able to provide a good backstory to important characters with out making the film drag on. Without going into spoilers, I’ll say the film had everything: thrills, chills, action, adventure, comedy and even a scene that had me tear up a bit. As of now, JunkHead doesn’t have a distributor. But Takahide has the 30 minutes know as Junk Head part 1 on youtube. Check it out here.