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FREE SXSW Outdoor Shows Lady Bird Lake

South by SouthWest (SXSW) in Austin Texas is the annual film, interactive, music conference and festival which began in 1987. My first SXSW experience was in 2000 when I purchased a wristband for $95 (seems so cheap now!) and found out I still had to wait in lines and could be turned away even with the wristband.

I went to free events at SXSW instead. No more wristbands for me! There are heaps of free concerts, food, and booze at SXSW!

Every bar downtown and along South Congress (SoCo) has a showcase for SXSW and many of them are free. There are also some large-scale free shows at Lady Bird Lake downtown.

There’s always splendid people watching  – it’s part of the draw for me at events like SXSW.

One of the best things about SWSX every year is the FREE outdoor concert series at Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin.

Some of the performances I’ve seen at the Lady Bird Lake free concert series include Cafe Tacvba, Ozomatli, Raul Malo, The Shins, Spoon, The Strokes, and The Flaming Lips.

In past years I’ve seen Ozomatli, Bajofondo; Café Tacvba, The Flaming Lips, Raul Malo.

Every year they bring out an awesome lineup of artists and 2022 continues with Golden Dawn Arkestra, Sammy Hagar, and Mt Joy as the headliners.

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Pink hair popular at SXSW - Austin Texas

Lineup for 2022 Free Concerts Lady Bird Lake

Thursday March 17

4:00 pm Gates Open
5:00 pm – 5:30 pm  Croy and the Boys
5:50 pm – 6:20 pm  Kalu and the Electric Joint
6:40 pm – 7:25 pm  And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
7:45 pm – 8:30 pm  Heartless Bastards
8:50 pm – 9:40 pm  Golden Dawn Arkestra

Friday March 18

4:00 pm Gates Open
5:00 pm – 5:30 pm  Jane N’ The Jungle
6:00 pm – 6:30 pm  The Dumes
7:00 pm – 7:30 pm  The Warning
8:00 pm – 9:30 pm  Sammy Hagar and the Circle

Saturday, March 19

4:00 pm Gates Open
5:00 PM  TBD
6:00 PM  TBD
7:00 PM  Houndmouth
8:00 PM  Mt Joy

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Know Before You Go

There are a few rules and other stuff you need to know before you get to Lady Bird Lake.

Also note that they do provide sign language interpreters for all of the concerts at Lady Bird Lake.

Stuff You Can’t Bring

Some of this stuff seems pretty obvious but the no food or drink rule is a bit drastic, but hey it’s free to attend, so no biggie.

Here’s the list of stuff you can’t bring to the big outdoor concerts at Lady Bird Lake.

  • Food
  • Drink (Empty water bottles are allowed, and can be refilled at filling stations)
  • Coolers
  • Pets
  • Glass
  • Umbrellas
  • Chairs
  • Tents
  • Drones/UAVs
  • Professional audio or video recording equipment (unless pre-approved for this show)
  • Video cameras or streaming equipment
  • Sound systems
  • Illegal substances and associated paraphernalia
  • Materials for staging protests
  • Any and all weapons

Where is Lady Bird Lake and how do I get there?

Lady Bird Lake is located at 800 W Riverside Drive in downtown Austin.

Your best bet is to walk, cycle, scooter, take a pedicab or rideshare, take public transportation, use the SXSW free shuttle, or a combo of these to get to the Lady Bird Lake concert series.

And it’s advisable to GET THERE EARLY. Remember gates open at 4:00 pm.

Select the links below for information on bike routes, trail routes, and bus routes to Lady Bird Lake and downtown Austin.

If you’re feeling particularly lucky and want to try and drive (OMG DON’T!!!) to downtown Austin during SXSW best of luck to you. But if you INSIST on driving you can click the links below for a couple of maps where you might get a parking spot if the parking goddess should choose to shine a little magic in your general direction.

Have a blast a SXSW and enjoy the free gigs at Lady Bird Lake downtown ATX.

If you feel the need to escape from all the madness in downtown Austin I suggest you grab a slice of Zen at the Zilker Botanical Garden or hang out with the beautiful peafowl at the Austin peacock park, also known as Mayfield Park. Both places offer a respite from the crowds of SWSX or any average day in downtown Austin.

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