Where to go with no badge or cash at South by Southwest 2017

Our third SXSW Interactive preview focuses on guest-pass events and sweet, sweet free swag.

Posted March 7th, 2017

For those who remain badgeless for SXSW, the conference does offer some free events via a guest pass you can order online at

The pass allows access to SXSW Create from March 10-12, an event geared toward DIY enthusiasts and artists; a March 11-12 Job Market, “General Assembly + SXSW Present” sessions on tech fundamentals and business skills for musicians; three sets of outdoor screenings at the Long Center City Terrace on March 11, 13 and 14; and free concerts at the Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake March 16-18.

Other non badge things to look out for: free food, on-the-street swag giveaways (cellphone chargers and Koozies aplenty), public installations to promote tech brands and TV shows such as “Twin Peaks” and “Better Call Saul,” and hundreds of no-badge-required side parties, concerts, mini conferences and demos of games and virtual reality/augmented reality gear.

Check out our first SXSW Interactive preview (transportation + what’s new and different for 2017) and our second (politics, Trump and big names at SXSW) as well as ongoing coverage of Interactive.

Dell Technologies is showing off “The Experience,” a set of panels and a VR and gaming party March 10-14 at Third and Trinity streets. (Expect Sony and Samsung to have large presences downtown with music and tech product demos as well.)

National Geographic will have a “Further Base Camp” at 418 E. Sixth St., doing demos of Microsoft’s HoloLens technology to tie-in with panel discussions about the series “Genius” with filmmakers Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Danny McBride and Ridley Scott in attendance at the site Friday to March 14.

And, oh yeah, a show called “Animal Kingdom” is bringing an entire beach (with surfing) to downtown.

SXSW Comedy will be running concurrently with Interactive, allowing festgoers to check out stand-up comedy, podcast tapings and TV tapings, including Comedy Central’s “@Midnight.”

There’ll be lots more pop-up installations and side parties. Check out Austin360’s side parties database, keep an eye on the @360sxsw Twitter account and, if you’re hungry, watch @TheFreeNoms on Twitter.