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10 Free SXSW Parties for 2012

Austin Travel Insider Guides
by Lindi Horton Mar 12, 2012
Lindi Horton highlights 10 of the nearly 200 free music parties for SXSW 2012.
1. The Boxing Lesson Presents: A Music OVRLD

On a normal Austin afternoon, you might find me sitting at Guero’s Taco Bar sipping on a Hornitos Perfecto Margarita. Add some kick ass music and I’m definitely there.

Even with the new garage behind Guero’s, parking is at a premium. If you’re car-challenged, take the route 10 bus that drops you off at Riverside and Barton Springs. Put the capitol at your backside, and walk south on Congress till you’re met with Ball glasses filled with tequila and agave nectar.

What: The Boxing Lesson Presents: A Music OVRLD
Where: Guero’s Taco Bar
When: Tuesday, March 13, noon to 10PM
Who: 9:20 The Great Nostalgic, 8:30 The Good The Bad, 7:40 The Hi-Tones, 6:50 Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, 6:00 Fresh Millions, 5:10 The Couch, 4:20 Sorne, 3:30 The Harms, 2:40 Tiger Waves, 1:50 Quiet Americans, 1:00 Strawberry Jam, 12:00 Melogrand

2. DMX SXSW Party featuring Pandora for Business

Clive Bar, located off Rainey Street, is a sweet little retreat from the SXSW craziness. I’m eager to check out Nneka after watching the soulful My Home video.

If you get hungry, G’Raj Mahal is nearby. Sidney and Anthony serve up my favorite downtown spicy Indian. Don’t let the trailer fool you, this food rocks.

What: DMX SXSW Party featuring Pandora for Business
Where: Clive Bar
When: Tuesday, March 13, 2PM to 6PM
Who: Austin Brown, The Stepkids, Nneka

3. Second House SXSW Slip N’ Slide Party Part Deux

Who cares about the music — this party is all about the massive Slip N’ Slide. Rock that badge + bathing suit look.

What: Second House SXSW Slip N’ Slide Party Part Deaux
Where: Second House
When: Wednesday, March 14, noon to 10PM
Who: 1:00 Education, 1:30 Feuding Fathers, 2:00 Hello Chief, 2:30 Hume, 3:00 Equals, 3:30 Cartright, 4:00 Doldrums, 4:30 Ava Luna, 5:00 Noxious Foxes, 5:30 Unstoppable Death Machines, 6:00 Kid Savant, 6:30 Caddywhompus, 7:00 Zechs Marquise, 7:30 Boyfrndz, 8:00 El Ten Eleven, 8:30 Zorch, 9:00 Netherfriends, 9:30 Roger Sellers

4. Filter’s SXSW Showdown @ Cedar St. 2012

Wednesdays at Cedar Street are notorious for hosting nerdy cover band Spazmatics. But during SXSW, Filter Magazine has taken over this nondescript venue for 3 days of free BBQ and music. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you peer down into an alleyway and a band is playing. The bars are located under street level on either side of the stage.

Even if you miss out on the BBQ, you can stroll by on the way to Fado pub for a pint of Guinness on Saturday, St. Patrick’s day.

What: Filter’s SXSW Showdown @ Cedar St. 2012
Where: Cedar Street
When: Thursday, March 15 to Saturday, March 17
Who: (Thursday) Twiilite, Coldair, Paula i Karol, Zulu Winter, Reptar, Band of Skulls, Kaiser Chiefs, Keane
(Friday) Philco Fiction, Team Me, Razika, Of Monsters and Men, Ed Sheeran, Tristen, FanFarlo
(Saturday)Anna Ihlis, The Bombettes, We Are Serenades, Imagine Dragons, Milo Greene, Oberhofer, Built to Spill

5. The Midgetmen’s Texas Jumpstart 5

Lovejoy’s, an Austin dive bar and brewery, is in the thick of the SXSW crowd. The bands sound promising but I really chose this one for the venue. Lovejoy’s has a fantastic selection of local craft brews and is accessible by two legs and flip flops.

What: The Midgetmen’s Texas Jumpstart 5
Where: Lovejoy’s
When: Friday, March 16, noon to 6PM
Who: 12:00 Ezra Furman, 12:45 Palomar, 1:30 Country Mice, 2:15 Mr. Dream, 3:00 Midgetmen, 3:45 Hounds Below, 5:15 Henry Clay People

6. Starving Artist Party

Going badgeless this year, I commiserate with the starving artists that suffer for their craft. If the videos are any indication of the talent playing this party, it should be one wild ride.

What: Starving Artist Party
Where: Peckerheads
When: Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17, 9PM to 2AM
Who: 9:00 Take to the Oars, 9:30 Flashbulb Fires, 10:00 Ian Cooke, 10:30 Fairchildren, 11:00 Nathaniel Rateliff, 11:30 American Tomahawk, 12:00 Photo Atlas, 12:30 Epilogues, 1:00 Bad Weather California, 1:45 Yawpers

7. Let’s Get Messy

The title of this party attracted my attention but the Scattered Trees video sealed the deal. Bestill my geek’s heart when I see a man playing piano in a Storm Trooper uniform.

What: Let’s Get Messy
Where: 512 Bar
When: Thursday, March 15, 2PM to 6PM
Who: Young Hines, The Balconies, Paper Thick Walls, The Big Sleep, Yukon Blonde, The Damn Choir, Archie Powell & the Exports, Sydney Wayser, Cory Chisel & the Wandering Sons, Kellen & Me, Chamberlin, Scattered Trees

8. Do512 and Shiner Present: The Big One

Who wants free Shiner Beer, Deep Eddy Vodka, Jack Daniels, and Southern Comfort? Count me in.

I was deeply saddened when the Belmont closed a few months ago. Imagine my glee when I realized it’s been re-opened for SXSW.

But be warned, the new dress code now states, “If you don’t have a shirt, you must have a cowboy hat on. Please wear deodorant.”

What: Do512 and Shiner Present: The Big One
Where: The Belmont
When: Saturday, March 17, 11AM to 2AM
Who: Dead Confederate, The Features, Guadalupe Plata, Chali 2na, Cuckoo Chaos, Fort Lean, Kids These Days, Gangstagrass

9. Burgermania at Spider House

With 73 bands and 6 stages, this is a major production — and free.

What: Burgermania
Where: Spider House
When: Saturday, March 17, starting at 11:30AM
Who: Way too many to list here — check the site above.

10. Rachel Ray Feedback Party

While Rachel may be known worldwide for her culinary skills, she consistently brings amazing indie bands to her SXSW Feedback Party. This year is no exception, with Tehophilus London and Blitzen Trapper performing. Train will headline.

RSVP is recommended, but as I’ve discovered in the past, get there early and they’ll probably let you in regardless.

What: Rachel Ray Feedback Party
Where: Stubb’s BBQ
When: Saturday March 17, 10:30AM to 4PM
Who: Train, Jimmy Cliff, Givers, Blitzen Trapper, Theophilus London, The Heavy, Spank Rock, Of Monsters and Men, The Cringe, Bob Schneider, LP, The Black Belles, The Click Clack Room, The Wild Feathers

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