Enjoying SXSW With Adults and Without a Badge

The Airborne Toxic Event at ACL Live
The Airborne Toxic Event at ACL Live

It’s officially here. South by Southwest, which either strikes fear into anyone living, working or otherwise out and about within a 5 mile radius of downtown…or which inspires us to get out and experience what it means to live in the Live Music Capital of the World.

If you are without childcare (I’m looking at you, Spring Break!) and need ideas on what to do with your kids, check out our post, How to Enjoy SXSW 2013 With Your Family. If you can get away during the day or at night on your own, there are literally hundreds of options to choose from.

We created a Pinterest board of all the No Badge Required events we could find, and we’re sure there are others we haven’t even heard about. Here are some things you should know about going to these events during SXSW:

  • If you find something on Pinterest, Eventbrite or Facebook, RSVPs are usually requested, and some events already have a waitlist, so jump on anything that sounds up your alley. I also realized that if possible, I need to RSVP with a +1, since SXSW is mostly a social experience for me and I probably wouldn’t go see a band by myself. In retrospect, I should have added events to the calendar I can access from my phone right when I received the confirmation, just so I can keep track of what my options are in case something has a huge line or there is another reason I need to move onto Plan B, C, etc.
  • Keep in mind that the earlier an event is, the less crowded it will be, and the less likely you will have to stand in line and/or risk not getting in. Most invitations I’ve seen clearly state that an RSVP does not guarantee entry, and some showcases will be limited those with badges and wristbands. One confirmation went so far as to mention that they had 30,000 RSVPs, so it’s likely many people (like me and my more SXSW-knowledgeable friends) has RSVPd to many parties, in hopes of getting in something.
  • CHARGE YOUR PHONE COMPLETELY BEFORE YOU HEAD OUT. You’ll be using it a lot when you are out and about seeing which parties are where, taking photos, texting friends and the last thing you want to do is to run out of juice (BTDT).
  • Look into road closures and alternative transportation before you head out.

That said, here are the events that look like a great way to experience SXSW:

  • SouthBites. March 8th-16th from 11:30am-2:30am, located on the corner of Driskill & Rainey. Food. Paul Qui-curated trailers. ‘Nuff said. If you can make it down to Rainey Street, you can sample local favorites, such as Cazamance, Foreign & Domestic and East Side King, as well as trucks brought in from elsewhere. If adventuresome food isn’t quite enough, witness acclaimed “trash artist” Jason Mecier at work as he creates a custom mural presented by the collaborative waste management programs of Keep America Beautiful and GLAD.
  • Austin School of Film’s Community Screenings. FREE. Monday, March 11th from 6:30-8:30pm at the Carver Museum’s Boyd Vance Theater. View short narrative films of 5 minutes or less.
  • KGSR Live Broadcasts. $5 donation. Wednesday, March 13th-Saturday, March 16th at the W. Entry is not guaranteed so make sure to arrive early. Shows go from 6-10am Wednesday through Friday, and 8am til noon on Saturday. To enter the broadcast, take the stairs at the corner of 2nd and Lavaca that lead up to the ACL Live at Moody Theater. Then head left towards the W Austin. There are several paid parking options, including valet at the hotel, the City Hall garage at 2nd and Caesar Chavez, and the Amli located across the street from the W Austin Hotel.
  • KUTX Live at the Four Seasons. $10 donation per day, includes a breakfast taco, granola bar and unlimited coffee. Parking is available near the hotel and guests may self-park in the hotel garage at the discounted rate of $5 per car. The concerts take place in the Ballroom, so you don’t need to come ready to sit outdoors.
  • Waterloo Records Day Parties. Wednesday, March 13th-Saturday, March 16th, from noon until 7pm in their parking lot. A great lineup. The minuses are that it can get really crowded and that there isn’t a lot of parking nearby, so head out early and consider taking public transportation.
  • Threadgill’s Dang Fest. Wednesday, March 13th, Friday, March 15th and Saturday, March 16th at the South Store on Riverside. It seems fitting to catch some live music in this iconic venue. There are both indoor and outdoor stages and day and night shows during SXSW. There is a parking lot and of course, plenty of home cooking to keep your energy levels up.
  • South By San Jose. FREE. Wednesday, March 13th-Saturday, March 16th in the parking lot of the Hotel San Jose and Jo’s Coffee. Shows start at noon. Although this is also a family-friendly venue, plenty of adults go solo to see the lineup of bands. The line can be long, but of course there is coffee and food at Jo’s. Parking can be tough to come by, so the earlier you arrive, the better.
  • Maria’s Taco Xpress. FREE. Wednesday, March 13th-Friday, March 15th. Shows start around noon, and it’s just a nice Austin-y vibe and, of course, great tacos. There is some parking in their lot.
  • SXSW Auditorium Shores Stage. FREE. Thursday, March 14th (5-9pm), Friday, March 15th (6-9pm) and Saturday, March 16th (12:30-0pm). This is the biggest “official” free event happening in town. This year, Cafe Tacvba headlines Thursday night, The Flaming Lips are on Friday and Saturday is an all-day Levon Helm tribute and benefit. Here’s a map if you want to get your bearings ahead of time. No food, drink, coolers, pets, glass, beach umbrellas or tents are allowed (with the exception of food for the under 5 crowd). Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Parking is the biggest challenge, although if you are willing to walk, bike or take the bus, that could make things easier (last year I found parking near the BMX park on 9th and didn’t find the walk too bad).
  • Songwriter Showcase. FREE. Friday, March 15th from 7-10pm at Mozart’s. Participants in the USA Songwriting Competition will perform. Mozart’s is a nice music venue and away from the hubbub of downtown.
  • Holy Hip-Hop Show. FREE. Saturday, March 16th from 10am-11pm (yes, you read that right! That’s a lot of music!) at the Carver Museum. The Carver’s a bit off the beaten path but has a lot of events going on, so it’s a good place to try.

What’s your favorite adult showcase during SXSW?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.livemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Nicole-Basham-Sara-Marzani-Photography-livemom.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 6-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau’s words, her mission is to “suck out all the marrow of life”, or in her son’s words, to cultivate in him a love of “advenchers”.[/author_info] [/author]

About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".

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