South By as it is known here in Austin is almost here. The city will be transformed into one giant music madhouse. With over 2000 scheduled performers from over 60 countries covering every musical genre, there is definitely something for everybody. Now not everybody is in the record business with their platinum badges or can pony up the $189 for a wristband. Luckily there are a plethora of free shows to more than occupy every waking hour of the day. There are so many that it can be mind numbing to try to figure out what to see and what to hear. What follows is my list of recommended venues and sponsored events. For some you will need to RSVP, some you can just show up and 1 you have to have an easily obtainable free guestpass.
The Hole in the Wall. This place is on Guadalupe over by campus. A somewhat small place but you can get very personal with the bands. Don't miss coming out on Wednesday to see perennial favorite Peelander Z.
The Saxon Pub This pub with the suit of armor outside is a great little venue. Located on South Lamar this small room never disappoints. Free
ABGB Austin Beer Garden Brewing on W. Oltorf has a great neighborhood vibe. There is plenty of room inside and out to get comfortable and listen to some great music with some pizza and a cold brew. Free
Dogwood Located down West 6th, this place is gonna be hoppin. There will be some excellent music both outside and on an inside stage. Don't miss Hector Ward. Free
Threadgills Threadgills World Headquarters at the corner of Baton Springs and Riverside will be hosting a large slate of musical acts both outside and inside. Plus you get to enjoy some good home cookin. Free
Marias Taco Xpress Unfortunately this is going to Marias swan song as she will be closing April 1. The funky iconic place has hosted some of Austin's greatest musicians. Do yourself a favor and go check out a little bit of old Austin. Free
Pandora Pandora will be sponsoring a really nice lineup over at the Gatsby on East Sixth. It's always a lot of fun and you just never know what you will get when you get there. RSVP
SXSanJose This open air setting on South Congress will feature some great musicians. SOCO is always a little crazy at SXSW time but amble on in for a Shiner and some awesome music. Don't miss Black Joe Lewis or Barbara Lynn. Free
Waterloo Records Waterloo (yes they still have records) will be doing their annual gig. As usual they will have some name performers such Modern English and local favorite Spoon. Free
Auditorium Shores Ok, Lady Bird Lake. At this 3 day happening you can party with 50,000 of your friends. Guespass
There are 2 early morning affairs that are sponsored by 2 of the local radio stations. When I say early I'm talking early morning. KUTX is at the Four Seasons and KGSR is at the W. Click on the links for times and musicians. These aren't free but the $$ goes good causes.
Well, that should get you started. For other options you can go to one of the venues on very busy Rainey Street or just go to Do512
and have your mind blown at how many bands are out there.
Anyway, have fun.