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Published February 28, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to SXSW 2024

Everything you need to know about Austin’s 2024 SXSW Festival—including how to do it for free. 🎸🌮 🎬

by Austin Bucket List


As one of the most dynamic and diverse gatherings of innovators, creators, and industry leaders from around the world, Austin’s South By Southwest (SXSW) festival is on a lot of people’s bucket lists. If you’re going to do SXSW, though, it’s worth doing it right. Whether you're a first-time attendee or a seasoned veteran, here's everything you need to know to make the most of your SXSW experience—including a list of the best free events happening throughout the festival!

SXSW: The Basics

What is SXSW?

In short, South by Southwest is a nine-day festival held annually in Austin, Texas, every March. You’ll find various events, including keynote speeches, panel discussions, film screenings, music performances, networking sessions, workshops, exhibitions, comedy, and more.

When and where is SXSW 2024?

South By Southwest 2024 runs from March 8–16, 2024, with various concurring sessions. We've broken it all down for you below. 

How do I get around SXSW?

Most SXSW venues and events are within walking distance of each other, and Austin blocks are just a one-minute walk within the downtown area. When you need a break from walking, though, you have options. Find a list of transportation options below, and remember that driving and parking can get messy—we recommend using public transit when possible!

  • SXSW Shuttles: A free circulating shuttle route runs between the Austin Convention Center and most SXSW venues, for official registrants and attendees. Catch the SXSW Shuttle outside the Convention Center on Trinity Street.
  • CapMetro Public Transportation: CapMetro provides convenient transit options with schedules, maps, and real-time arrival information available through their app.
  • MetroBike: Austin's bike-share system, MetroBike, offers a fast and easy way to navigate the city with day access passes available at B-stations throughout downtown.
  • Pedicabs: Licensed and regulated by the City of Austin, pedicabs operate day and night in downtown areas, offering convenient rides for tips or a charge-per-block fare.
  • Electric Cab: Electric Cab provides environmentally friendly rides for evening entertainment and special events in Downtown Austin, ensuring a fun and safe experience.


Do I need tickets to attend SXSW?

SXSW offers different types of badges tailored to your interests and needs. These include Interactive, Film, Music, and Platinum badges, each providing access to different facets of the festival. Choose the badge that aligns best with your objectives. Official passes will let you into exclusive events, let you skip (some) lines, or give you a higher priority in lines.

Can I attend SXSW for free?

If you’re willing to plan ahead, you can attend many SXSW events for free. SXSW offers some free-to-attend events, and many venues in the area put on their own unofficial showcases. We rounded up some of the most highly-anticipated free events happening during SXSW below—we’ll do our best to update this list of events as more information comes through, so make sure to check back!

Pro-Tip: Check each site for more information. It's also important to note that many free events require you to RSVP, and spots can fill up quickly!


Free Events at SXSW


  • Fader Fort: An exclusive music series with frequent appearances from A-list artists. You have to be subscribed to The Fader's official email subscriber list for a chance to be sent an RSVP!
  • Billboard’s The Stage: Three days of star-studded concerts at Moody Amphitheatre.
  • Rolling Stone’s Future of Music: A lineup of music showcases featuring the artists shaping the music of tomorrow.
  • Collision Course Concerts: A diverse and comprehensive lineup of artists and bands, featuring both emerging and worldwide superstars across a variety of genres.
  • Full Irish Breakfast: A selection of acts from across Ireland performing in an intimate setting, offering one Bloody Mary per person on a first-come, first-served basis—come early!
  • Eclectic Soul Independent Artists Music Showcase: An eclectic music showcase with a total of 10 musical talents from all music genres. Food trucks on-site!
  • The Magic School Bus Event by THE LET OUT: Hop on the bus and enjoy a new event with good vibes and better music.
  • The Array Party: A dance party spinning all vinyl dance music that spans several genres and years. It's designed to get you to get down and boogie!
  • Austin Music Love Fest: An all-day unofficial local artist showcase during SXSW at a food truck park.
  • The Makin’ It Compound: Big Mike Mic Whoa will perform on the Media Matters Sound Stage Saturday alongside a great lineup of creative artists.
  • Marshall Funhouse: Three days of live bands and music performances at Parish.
  • Padded Room Concert Series: DJ Waffles is back in Austin for the fourth edition of the Padded Room Concert Series, featuring talent from all across the globe 
  • RANGE Magazine SXSW 2024 Showcase: A punk rock show featuring some of the most exciting bands from across Canada.
  • WhoDo Blues Collective Live at 1A House: Come hear WhoDo perform its brand of rockabilly and vintage rock and enjoy complimentary cocktails and a conversation about the importance of the First Amendment.

Happy Hours & Food Events

  • Final Girl Records: Happy Hour DJ set from Strawberry Launch + drinks/libations
  • CareFreeBlackGirl Cookout: Free food, music, mini facials, hair touchups, and more.
  • SXSBRUNCH2024: A showcase of local music, local vendors, and boozy brunch at Irene's.
  • #OPENSHABBAT: Unplug and take part in an epic SXSW Shabbat meal with hundreds of other people 
  • Retro Bytes Lounge: A 90s-themed happy hour with retro video games, neon vibes, and more.
  • Recharge with RE/MAX: Recharge and revitalize with RE/MAX with facials, massages, and conversations with real estate experts.
  • All Things Food Summit: Multiple stages featuring 60+ speakers, delicious food, film viewings, live performances, tasting areas, and more. Complimentary breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, and reception are included.
  • Go DJ Brunch: Network with the Go DJs while enjoying a scrumptious brunch with chicken, pancakes, and mimosas.
  • Bruichladdich at Registrant Lounge: A sampling of single malt Scotch from the award-winning Bruichladdich Distillery.
  • Balcones Retreat: A space to celebrate Whiskey with live music plus complimentary Balcones cocktails and Texas BBQ.

Panels & Discussions

  • Founders House: A one-of-a-kind hub for the driven people starting, running, and growing businesses.
  • Fast Company Grill: An oasis of smarts and networking, hosting business visionaries, diverse leaders, and exceptional change agents for three days of compelling programming.
  • Reddit in Austin: Enjoy music from some of Austin’s emerging artists, sip on your favorite “Reddit Recommends” beverage, and learn more about what's happening in the Reddit world.
  • UT Austin’s Hook ‘Em House: Panels, pop-ups, and watch parties, presented by the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Drag Queen Brigitte Bandit Dishes on the 1A: Drop by for complimentary cocktails and hear how Brigitte Bandit used her First Amendment freedoms to challenge restrictions on drag and how free expression is at the heart of her performances.
  • R&B and RIBS: SXSW: A Day Party with good food and dope DJs!
  • The Digilogue: Artist Showcase + Party: An Artist Showcase and After Dark Party with an open bar.

More Events, Parties & Pop-Ups

  • Vega X SXSW Fuel Station: Power down (while powering up) and get your protein, MCT oil, and caffeine fixes to fuel the rest of your SXSW experience.
  • Bakery’s Pain Au Chocolate: Live luchador wrestling + music and drinks!
  • A Ridiculous Boat Party: Hop on board the Lonestar Riverboat and enjoy music, merriment, and the best boat trip in town.
  • OXOXOX by Glo2Facial: Complimentary drinks, not-so-typical skin assessments, and gifts.
  • Sharpie X Paper Mate Studio: Explore unique ways to unleash your creativity with the newest Sharpie® and Paper Mate® products. A few limited spots are also available at the Sharpie X Paper Mate Studio Creative Academy, with classes led by seasoned pros.
  • Flores Market SXSW Jewish-Latin Market Celebration: Live Music from Mazeltov Kocktail Hour & Conjunto Los Dos, 40 Jewish and/or Latin vendors, food pop-ups, wine bar, tattoo flash, and more!
  • The Startup Olympics: Join 1000 tech employees, investors, & founders for 3 massive tournaments - Cornhole, Big Jenga, and Beer Pong!
  • Art & Parks Tour: Explore the best of Downtown Austin's art and parks on the free 2024 Art & Parks Tour ride!



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