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Event Picks For Your First SXSW

For those that have never experienced SXSW, it can seem overwhelming to jump in the mix of everything going on in the city. Based on 2012 stats, 52% of the crowd last year was enjoying the festival for the first time – so you’re not alone.

Fret not! You don’t need no stinkin’ badges, wristbands or even a real plan to enjoy Austin the next few days. With SXSW novices in mind, we’ve picked some of our favorite ways to dip your toe in the SXSW waters for 2013.

Rock Out South of the River with South by San Jose

This 5-day free party starts Wednesday at Noon and has non-stop jams throughout weekend. Located at the Hotel San Jose and Jo’s on South Congress, the concert has the SXSW music vibe without the hassle of trying to park and get around downtown.

Every day of the mini-fest is packed with awesome bands, but we’re particularly looking forward to Saturday with Foxygen, Lissie and then Dawes to wrap up the evening.

Event Info: Wednesday | Thursday | Friday |  Saturday | Sunday

Have a Little Coffee with Your Music at KGSR SXSW Live Broadcast

From 6:00 am to 10:00 am Wednesday though Friday, and 8:00 am to noon on Saturday, KGSR will host their annual live broadcast from the 2nd Floor of the W Austin. For a $5 donation to Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas, you will start your day off with a healthy serving of musical interviews and performances from big name and up-and-coming bands.

Last year’s line-up included Grammy performers fun., The Lumineers, and Ed Sheeran. This year, we are particularly jazzed about ZZ Ward, Divine Fits, and Iron & Wine.

Event Info: Wednesday | Thursday | Friday |  Saturday

Get the Heck Out of Dodge with the Heartbreaker Banquet

The line-up is a rocking group including Jim James, Michael Kiwanuka and Shovels & Rope, and the location at Willie Nelson’s Luck, Texas Ranch is not too shabby. The old western town built for Willie’s film “Red Headed Stranger” provides the backdrop with performances on an outdoor stage at the ranch and an acoustic, intimate 50-seat chapel.

The ranch is located 30 minutes west of Austin and buses are picking up guests off South Congress, if you’re already in the city. Oh, and tickets to the event are free to the public. Yes – free! Codes to redeem tickets are being released on the Heartbreaker Banquet social media pages and through their email list.

Event Info: Thursday

CRUNCH Those Calories with Flavorpill Sanctuary

It’s not just SXSW Music having all the fun – Interactive parties continue to rival Music with their integration of technology and innovation. We have our eye on culture blog Flavorpill and Windows, who are transforming AMOA-Arthouse into the Flavorpill Sanctuary. Their free CRUNCH fitness classes this weekend include Dirty Yoga®, Pound®, CYC spin and my favorite 2Fly – “inspired by style, music and moves of the 90’s, this dance class feels more like a house party than a workout.”

Then add the #FEED Beats & Bytes dance parties, daily free massages and healthy breakfasts, and you know where I’ll be this weekend.

Event Info: Saturday – Tuesday

Dine Out with a SXSW View

If large crowds aren’t your thing but chilling out is, may I recommend lunch/dinner on 2nd Street? Spend the afternoon with Second Bar + Kitchen, La Condesa or TRACE at the W Austin – all three eateries host outdoor seating on various cross streets of foot traffic heading into downtown and music venues. And though the drinks aren’t free, you know with these restaurants’ libationists at the helm, that they’ll be tasty.

Reservations are recommended, but we did the walk up last year with great success!


Written by Laura Villagran Johnson

Co-Founder and Creative Director,
Austin Social Planner

204 posts

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