Did you know you can do SXSW free? Yes, you do not need an expensive badge in order to get wined and dined and a load of free swag.
Every year there are tons of free events, parties, and free shows at SXSW Austin, Texas, you just have to know how to find them and learn how to get on the list. Since most of these events require an RSVP, be sure to sign up early.
Unfortunately, the popular events and parties can be sold out before South by Southwest even starts! There are still a lot of events that have open RSVP spots and somewhere you can just show up. In addition, there are various ways to get to free SXSW passes and free SXSW badges.
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Finally, if you are going to be at SXSW and would like to meet up or invite me to your super cool event, contact me here.
How to go to 2023 Free SXSW Events and Parties
Each year I provide a South by Southwest guide to the 10-day interactive film and music festival. In previous years, I provided lots of tips and tricks for attending SXSW free events and enjoying the music scene. It is now that time of year again to put together my list of SXSW 2023 free stuff.
When is SXSW 2023?
SXSW Austin, Texas is a 10-day interactive, tech, film, and music festival with live music, panels, product launches, parties, red carpet movie premiers, food, and drinks.
EDU is March 6-9. Interactive is March 10-19 and Film is March 10-18. The music festival is officially March 13 -18.
How to get SXSW Free Badges
Another way to enjoy SXSW for free is to volunteer at the festival. Find out How to Volunteer at SXSW in exchange for a Free SXSW Badge.
How to get Free Passes Without a Badge
Below, I will keep an updated list of the free parties and events. If you know of any to add to the list send me a message I will add them. Usually, I only post the free events for SXSW interactive. These are your best bet for free food, swag, booze, and more. In order to not miss out, be sure to RSVP right away since many of the spots fill up.
The Guest Pass is your free credential to many events including Flatstock 65, SXSW Job Market, SXSW Wellness Expo, SXSW Marketplace, an Outdoor Film Screening at the Long Center, and more! Get your SXSW free guest pass (I have not confirmed this for 2023 yet).
Where to Park in Austin for SXSW
I sometimes have luck with paid street parking in West Downtown Austin a little bit north of the library. If you don’t mind walking a little bit, park for free in East Austin around 3rd and Navasota St. I’ve also had luck with the paid street parking around Fair Market at 5th and Waller.
Here are some recommended items to help you have a happy South by Southwest experience.
SXSW Tips for Getting Into Events Without a Badge
Fake it till you make it! Seriously though, if you wear some badges, like this DIY media badge, or act confident like you know what and where you are going, you’ll have better luck getting into official events without a paid wristband.
Start RSPing early to the events and shows and get on the guest lists. Often, these lists fill up, and you might be able to get on a waitlist.
What to bring to the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas
Get a lightweight packable backpack such as one of these.
Bring along a rain jacket. You never know how Austin, Texas weather is going to be.
You’ll be using your phone a lot for maps, verifying RSVPs, communicating, and more. Make sure you have a backup battery option.
Unofficial SXSW Free 2023 Events and RSVP Lists
Again this year, I keep hoping the Spredfast Social Suite for SXSW 2023 will pop up. Does anyone know if they will do anything this year? If you had the opportunity to go in the past, then you’ll know why I keep hoping they will have the social suite again.
During the festival, you can find all kinds of free stuff such as swag, free food, free drinks, free shows, and free music. Below, you will find out where to RSVP to Austin, Texas SXSW music festival, 10-day interactive, film, and unofficial events including live music, free food and drinks.
Free 2023 Events
South by Southwest 2023 Activations
It looks like Porsche is a sponsor again, so I’m wondering if they will have a Porsche activation this year too.
Brands coming to SXSW 2023 could be Itau · Volkswagen and/or Porsche · White Claw (Mike’s Hard) · Muck Rack, LLC.
You might be able to get more insight from the SXSW 2023 event timeline pdf.
Multiple Day Events 2023
Capital Factory House at SXSW Austin 2023
March 10 – March 14 at Capital Factory, 701 Brazos Street Austin, TX 78701
For 5 days, get all kinds of great food, drinks, swags, and networking at events such as the Startup Crawl, Backstage Access, and more at the Capital Factory House.
The Future of Food 2023 – Event Series
March 10 – March 11 at 1400 Lavaca Street Austin, TX 78701
Conversations, Art Installations, Delicious Tastings, and more at The Future of Food.
Future Food Field Days ✦ Activations and Experiential Demonstrations ✦ Family Friendly ✦ Roundtable Discussions ✦ Networking Events ✦ Chefs Sharing Small Plates with Future Food Ingredients ✦ Food Focused Watch Parties ✦ Impromptu Dance Breaks ✦ Free and Accessible Core Programming ✦ Taste Forward-Thinking Food & Beverages ✦ Conversations with Food Systems Experts & Industry Insiders ✦ Pitch Practice for Entrepreneurs & Founders ✦ Skill Shares for Professional Growth ✦ Networking Over Delicious Food & Drink ✦ Curated 1:1 Connections
Brand Innovators 2023
March 10 – March 13 at Lamberts
Brand Innovators is coming back to SXSW 2023 from March 10-13! I had a great time last year at the panels. Last year, it was hosted by Lamberts and that appears to be true for this year as well.
Be sure to fill out the form to apply to register for the event.
Inc. Founders House 2023
March 10 – March 13 at Cedar Door Bar & Grill, 201 Brazos St. Bldg A, Austin, TX 78701
Inc. Founders House at SXSW offers a one-of-a-kind hub for the driven people starting, running, and growing businesses. Just two blocks from the Austin Convention Center, Inc. Founders House welcomes founders to refuel, recharge, and connect with peers in an intimate setting curated exclusively for entrepreneurs.
Over four days at Inc. Founders House, you’ll experience inspiration, insight, and the boldly honest truth that only founders live—whether it’s on stage or across the bar. Inc. Founders House is a crossroads of intellect, guts, strategy, and excitement, featuring:
- Star entrepreneurs
- Guest bartenders
- Snacks, apps, and cocktails
- Invite-only happy hours
March 11 – March 12, 9am – 6pm, at Waller Creek Boathouse 74 Trinity St Austin TX 78701
Details coming soon. Reserve your spot with the Female Quotient.
March 15 – March 17 at ?
Flatstock is free and open to the public as well as all SXSW registrants.
Flatstock 77 displays the works of the world’s top gig poster artists. The show features posters of varying styles, colors, and techniques for sale by the talented artists who created them.
Enjoy performances from some talented official Showcasing Artists.
March 11 – March 14 at Cafe Blue, 340 E. 2nd Street.
Join Wonder House by Arizona University for exclusive experiences with speakers, musicians and producers with alumni, fans, and the curious.
SHE Media Co-Lab at SXSW
March 11 – March 12 at The Native 807 East 4th Street Austin, TX 78702.
Explore the Future of Health at the She Media Lab. Katie Couric, Christy Turlington Burns, Phoebe Robinson, Busy Philipps & more will take the stage to shine a light on important issues like access to care, reproductive rights, the importance of optimizing brain health and more.
Established and Startup of the Year
March 11 – March 13, at (location coming soon)
Details for Established and Startup of the Year coming soon, but go ahead and RSVP to secure your spot.
BALANCED BREAKFAST SHOWCASE • Two Days with Music City SF During 2023
March 16 – March 17 at The Jackalope 404 East 6th Austin, TX 78701
Balanced Breakfast is a multi-city weekly meetup of musicians, music industry professionals, and enthusiasts founded in San Francisco. We are now located in 30+ cities, our goal is to create community in the music industry. Early bird free tickets are available now.
Friday, March 10
Saturday, March 11
Careers for the Future 2023
March 11, 10am – 1pm, at The Lab, DMC 4.338, Moody College of Communication at University of Texas at Austin 300 West Dean Keeton Street Austin, TX 78712
CFTF will connect global industry leaders and innovators in Austin for SXSW with students curious about the Careers For The Future.
The Non-Obvious 7 Minute Meetup | The SHORTEST SXSW 2023 EVENT!
March 11, 9:08am -9:15am, (Secret Location near the ACC) 500 E 4th St Austin, TX 78701
Join the SHORTEST meetup at SXSW 2023 with Non-Obvious Swag and be the first to get a free signed copy of The Future Normal + More!
#GALSNGEAR at The VORTEX – Panel and Happy Hour
March 11, 2pm – 5:30pm, at The VORTEX 2307 Manor Road #2135 Austin, TX 78722.
The Galsngear event will have a panel with leading film and technology creatives at The VORTEX followed by Happy Hour at the adjacent Butterfly Bar. They will be giving away a free DELL Laptop (must be present to win) to help you with your next creative project.
Create & Cultivate Future Summit
March 11, 11am – 5pm, SOUTH CONGRESS HOTEL1603 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704.
Create & Cultivate is back for another big, free event at SXSW 2023. This is for entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, or small business owners at any stage looking to leverage tech and innovation to bolster your business. There will be workshops, mentorship sessions, networking, and a gift bag worth $150 for the first 200 attendees. Last year’s event and gift bag were amazing! Hint: Get there early to get in line before the event starts.
Sunday, March 12
All Things Food at SXSW 2023 (Official Event). Hosted by HT and Food Tank.
Join us March 12 for “All Things Food” at SXSW 2023. 25+ luminary speakers, 2 food film viewings, delicious breakfast, lunch and reception. Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon Street, Austin, TX 78702.
Vancouver Day 2023
March 12, 12pm-6pm, at Swan Dive 615 Red River Street Austin, TX 78701.
The full-day Vancouver Day 2023 SXSW event will see the Canadian city’s premier technology innovators, creative tech industries, and musical artists show why Vancouver is consistently voted one of the most desirable places to live in the world.
Some of the special guests include City of Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim, Innovation Commissioner of the Government of BC- Gerri Sinclair, Amy Peck of Endeavor XR, Tony Parisi of Lamina1 and many more.
In the evening, guests can expect a special VIP event with first-class musical acts, installations, wellness activations and drinks, and the chance to mingle with investors, top brands, and top business leaders from around the world.
March 12, TBD.
Request your invite for Culture House.
Hometown Hangover Cure
March 12, TBD
Since 2012, Hometown Hangover has created a high-quality networking opportunity for the entrepreneurial technology communities in Austin, Texas. The event attracts many venture capitalists and offers marketing and business development opportunities for all sponsors and attendees.
Monday, March 13
March 13, 11:30am – 6pm, at Vuka Bouldin Creek, 411 W Monroe St, Austin, TX 78704
Join Devex Dish for an afternoon of dialogues and networking to reimagine how we grow, produce, move, and distribute food in a nutritious, equitable, and sustainable way.
Kick off the day at 11:30 a.m. CST with a networking lunch and registration. Then dive into main programming from 12:30 – 6 p.m.
Stay for drinks and international fare from a variety of local food trucks under a canopy of live oak trees and connect with other like-minded professionals working on the global food system.
Austin Industry Day: Open to the Public
Come one, come all! The first-ever 2023 Austin Industry Day will bring this year’s Creative Industries Expo to the public. On Wednesday, March 15, they are opening the Expo to all Austin industry professionals for Austin Industry Day — no credential required for entry!
The Creative Industries Expo will be held at the Austin Convention Center from March 12-15.
Scumbag Season Concert Series
March 17, 12pm – 8pm, at Peckerheads 402 East 6th Street Austin, TX 78701
Scumbag Season Concert Series ATX 2023 is onne of the biggest premier stages of the ATX / SXSW Weekend in March 2023.
SXSW Recovery Party at Parlay House
March 20, 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM at Parlay House 10402 Menchaca Road #BLDG A Austin, TX 78748
Join the recovery party after the SXSW festival for a recovery afternoon featuring massages, IVs, tattoos, drink & gift giveaways, live DJs, & more!
2022 SXSW Free Events and Shows
Even though these events are from last year, you can still use this list to grab links and information for 2023. Some of the URLs can be changed with the current year to see 2023 events.
Multiple Day Events
Inc. Founders House
Just two blocks from the Austin Convention Center, stop by Inc. Founders House from 10:30am – 5:30pm at Cedar Door Bar and Grill. Take refuge, refuel, recharge, and connect. Each day you’ll find star entrepreneurs, guest bartenders, snacks, apps, cocktails, and invite-only happy hours.
Capital Factory House
Head over to the Capital Factory House at 701 Brazos Street from 9am – 7pm, for educational sessions, workshops, 10 day-interactive experiences, and lots of surprises along the way.
Every day you’ll find: Startup Founders, Army Generals, Angel Investors, State or Federal Government Officials, Entrepreneurs, Foreign Delegations, Venture Capitalists, Fortune 500 Company Executives, and more.
In previous years, I have gotten a ton of great swag and really good food here.
Many of the events at Capital Factory House require a Backstage Pass (free for those that apply and qualify).
With the Capital Factory Backstage: The VIP Experience you get
- A community to meet and make connections with the best entrepreneurs, potential investors, employees, and customers
- Daily catered meals and beverages (BBQ, tacos, local brews, and more)
- A place to work and recharge your mind, body, and electronics
- Fully equipped conference rooms with Cisco video conferencing, phone booths, and WiFi
- VIP access to the SXSW Startup Crawl
- Invitations to other exclusive events from March 12 – 14
SXSW Wellness Expo (March 12 – 13)
The Wellness Expo is free and open to the public from March 12-13 from 11am – 5pm at the Palmer Events Center in Exhibit Halls 1 & 2.
The Future of Food at SXSW – 100+ Speakers, 12 Incredible Events
Free with an RSVP, The Future of Food SXSW, at 1400 Lavaca Street, will have 100+ inspiring food system experts and innovators over one week (12+ events).
Fort Worth at SXSW
Discover the Modern West with Visit Fort Worth at the Container Bar on Rainey at SXSW, March 12, 13 & 14.
Get free BBQ from Panther City BBQ, free TX Whiskey cocktails, and free beer daily.
Celebrity appearances from Paramount+ hit series 1883, live music, daily giveaways, filmmaker and entrepreneur meet-ups. Panels on fashion, film, music, BBQ and sports. A live podcast studio featuring Fort Worth favorites and an upscale experience from Hotel Drover.
SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake
The SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake is free and open to the public.
The SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake features a three-day series of charity beneficiary concert events, which are free and open to the public.
Dates and times TBD.
Brand Innovators Marketing Innovation in Austin
“This is a hybrid event. Access to our in-person programming is exclusively reserved for qualified brand-side marketers and active paying sponsors, while our virtual programming will be open to the public.”
Friday, March 11 Free Events in Austin
SXSW Startup Crawl
From 5-9pm on March 11, Capital Factory will have the annual SXSW Startup Crawl. Tour the latest and greatest of Austin’s startup community.
Saturday, March 12 Events
Sunday, March 13 Events
Austin Pop-Up – Create & Cultivate
At the Create & Cultivate pop-up, from 10am – 7am on March 13, at Fair Market, 100 E 5th Street, come for a day of networking, conversations, live podcasts, food, cocktails, and more. Fuel up with free breakfast and coffee, attend the mentor power hour, hear from blockchain baddies, and listed to the keynote conversation. There will also be lunch and happy hour. You must sign up ahead of time to get your ticket since space is limited.
Everyone in attendance must provide proof of full vaccination or a negative test.
So far, I still haven’t attended Create & Cultivate at SXSW, the years I have tried to go, either the line to get in was way too long or it conflicted with another event I wanted to attend. I’m hoping to finally make it this year.
Digital LA – Digital Drinks
From 4-6pm on March 13, at Digital LA, meet LA tech and entertainment peeps and others from around the US and world at the annual event in Austin during SXSW. Cash bar unless they get a sponsor to provide free drinks. Be sure to RSVP ahead of time.
Lumos in the Park presented by Meanwhile Brewing & Lumos Fitness
From 10-11am at Meanwhile Brewing, 3901 Promontory Point Drive, this donation-based outdoor training class combines strength training, bodyweight movements, and sprint and endurance elements to build well-rounded athletes who excel at any task life throws in their way.
This workout will involve minimal (or no) equipment, include a warmup and a cooldown, scalable for all abilities, ages, and other factors. Come sweat with us and “enter our orbit!”
Innovate State: Changing the Game for Student Athletes
On Tuesday, March 15 from 3pm – 4:30pm at Half Step, 75 1/2 Rainey Street, attend the session about Changing the Game for Student Athletes. This is part of the Innovate State Speaker Series that offers 60 minute sessions on topics such as innovation, startup life, investments, and career paths.
Wednesday, March 16
The CYBRVERSE Experience
From 2-6pm and 6pm-10pm at The South Congress Hotel, view the NFT gallery and then join the social mixer with art and music.
Step into this one-of-a-kind event at SXSW – The CYBRVERSE Experience!
- Upon arrival, enter a world of virtual mindfulness and meditation with ZenVR (optional)
- Purchase a unique CYBRVERSE NFT in an infinite object for a good cause – all proceeds donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Austin!
- Immerse yourself in a theatrical violinist projection art activation
- Network and socialize with fellow SXSW attendees
- Taste craft cocktails and tapas
- Snap photos to remember your experience
- Meet the team behind Cyvatar and learn about the future of cybersecurity
Open bar & light bites courtesy of Cyvatar.
Thursday, March 17 Events
From 6pm -8:30pm at Emmer & Rye, Skyhouse, 51 Rainey Street #110, join Mission-Driven Start-ups in the food and beverage industry. The event will include a curated, exclusive tasting menu by Emmer & Rye’s Chef, live music entertainment, delicious drinks, networking, and surprise celebrity guests.
Hurry, space is limited.
Rachel Belkin is an Austin, Texas blogger, influencer, entrepreneur, speaker, and educator. After selling her lifestyle blog for six figures in 2021, she teaches business, blogging, and influencer marketing strategies that helped her build her business on part-time hours. Rachel has published articles on HuffPost and Hometalk. She has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, CBS Austin, and other news and media outlets.