West of the Fest – SXSW In Austin (Minus the Hoards)

Overwhelmed by SXSW? Head West of the Fest – we are business as usual, but still allow you to party local with great drinks, good food and live music daily. So get out and enjoy Austin without the SXSW frustrations.

Where did the year go? Winter made it seem long AF, but it’s somehow already SXSW in Austin again – the two weeks locals either love or hate in perpetuity. Personally, we’re [not-so-secretly] kind of stoked about the whole Westworld hullaballoo, but we’re a little busy gearing up for our own SX programming. (And yes, we’re already tired and ready for the 20th the end of the SX-athon – we’re in this together guys, we’ve got ya.) Here is everything we’re offering to locals to enjoy both life and some great SXSW action without the pomp of badges.

Photo: Charles Reagan Photography

Live Music Showcases

Arguably, the biggest party on the block is the Party in My Pants showcase at Little Woodrow’s. Now in its 5th year, the PIMP showcase is bursting with good vibes and even better music curated by Live Vibe. This year Austin greats Mobley and Capyac kick off two great days of music (headlined by Blastfamous USA and Broncho). Music starts at 11 am and lasts until 7 pm. This showcase is completely FREE and draws a big crowd, so try to get there early.

The Rattle Inn is a hugely underestimated SXSW escape from the madness. Seriously. Sturgill Simpson played at Rattle Inn for about 20 people. Chew on that. They have quality programming – mostly free – and great drinks with plenty of space to maintain your personal bubble. Here are their public events:

  • March 13 | Jack Charles + MPIC 9:30 pm-10:30 pm, Kalijah 11 pm-1 am
  • March 15 | Danny Golden 8:30 pm-9:30 pm, Peach 10 pm-11 pm, Eagle Eye Williamson 11:30 pm-12:30 am
  • March 16 | Good Morning Bedlam 9:30 pm-11:15 pm, Marah in the Mainsail 11:30pm-1am
  • March 17 | Rattle Inn Music Showcase 7 pm – 1 am with Wyatt Weaver Band, Russell Taine Jr.,  Sam Houston Band,  Nite Owl, Cutest Buddhist, Soap Boxers
  • Private Events:
  • March 9 | Schneider Electric Corporate Event (Rooftop Deck) + Talk & Tacos Event (Ray’s Backstage)
  • March 11 | Hometown Hangover (Full Venue)
  • March 12 | USGIF Event (Full Venue)-  RSVP Closed
  • March 14 | Beardbrand Party (Ray’s Backstage and Whiskey Lounge) – FREE with RSVP

Dirty Bill’s is introducing The Dirty Lounge on March 11 to 14. The Lounge is free and open to the public (no RSVP necessary). Expect guest DJs, stiff drinks and plenty of table dancing.

Dogwood is another underestimated heavy hitter in the free entertainment SXSW in Austin department. They will, of course, have their annual (and freaking awesome) Blackfinger Showcase that features FOUR days of FREE live music. Join them in their newly renovated space for loads of great music from Wednesday, March 14 through Saturday, March 17. No RSVP necessary. They will also have parties from Thursday, March 8 to the following Monday as well as a Folk Festival on March 13. Here are the details.

  • March 9 | Open Door Showcase, 4 pm-midnight (FREE, open to the public) music by MIEARS, Primo, MIDDLESPOON, OH  MY LOVE, Lights Wheel, The Ghost Wolves, Young Tounge, Vockah Redu and DJ Fredster.
  • March 13 | Dog Day Afternoon, noon – 10 pm (FREE, open to the public) Austin Woman Magazine is bringing you the mega-talented ladies of Austin’s Americana & independent songwriter scene.  Lineup to be announced!
  • March 14 – 17 | Blackfinger Showcase, noon-midnight (FREE, open to the public)

Kung Fu Saloon will have South By So Wasted (Night Attack Live) featuring live music and comedy on March 10. From 2 pm till close enjoy the sights and sounds of Brian Brushwood, Justin Robert Young, Jomo & the Possum Posse with additional surprise guests. The showcase is free and open to the public.

Rustic Tap made a big splash at SXSW 2016 and they keep getting stronger SX game (really, sometimes there’s a bouncy house and Rainbow Kitten Surprise plays). True to form, they’ve packed a ton of music into four days.

March 14 | The Dukes of Haggard, 1:10 pm – 1:30 am (FREE, open to the public)

March 15 | Rift’s Outlaw Oasis Day Two, 12:30 pm-midnight (FREE, open to the public)

March 16 | Rift’s Outlaw Oasis Day Two, 2 pm-midnight (FREE, open to the public)

March 17 | Paul Cauthen’s Big Velvet Revue, 1 pm – 2 am (FREE, open to the public)

Green Light Social killed it last year with their Red Gorilla sets. Be on the lookout for more awesome stuff from these guys this go around.

For the Regulars

Events stated, we’re excited (and proud) to offer locals life as normal (ok, maybe a little cooler than normal since we’ve got plenty of great, FREE music all over the block). Look West of the Fest, you’ll find local businesses with air conditioning, sustenance and cold beverages operating business as usual – it’s your very own local haven.

Fuel up away from the downtown hoards with Frank and Angie’s or Hut’s Hamburgers (and yes, SXSW is an excuse to eat pizza and burgers in one week). They are also a great value for the money, with filling portions for affordable prices, leaving you more money for SX shenanigans (or escape vacation money). If you want to just grab a drink Parlor & Yard has recently finished their patio renovations and is a great place to hang out in the yard people-watching with cold beers. Star Bar (who has the best hot chicken sandwich in town) is another great to watch the foot traffic its huge patio and glass windows.