SXSW 2012: An Off-The-Grid Guide, No Badge Required

Record stores, BBQ joints, beer halls... even the badge-less have plenty of options at the South By Soutwest music conference.

Long gone are the days when the South by Southwest music conference catered exclusively to the industry. In 2012, independent party and concert promoters spending big corporate bucks have come to run a good deal of the shows, which means there are even more event options for music fans, especially those looking to get by without official conference passes.

They don't call it the music (and tech) industry's spring break for nothing, but what of the badgeless and the locals whose beloved hometown is invaded by thousands of revelers? Plenty of drinks, food and tunes can be had without shelling out a dime. Here, THR's five favorite unofficial SXSW 2012 parties. (RSVPs may be required.)

Trailer Space Records, 3/13 - 3/17
1401 A Rosewood Ave., East Austin

All record collectors visiting Austin (and their mothers) know about Waterloo Records, the downtown Mecca for vinyl, but a couple miles East across the freeway where the hip kids roam there's a gem of a shop called Trailer Space Records where yearly you can count on catching some of punk's finest young talents. Amidst all downtown Austin's co-sponsored chaos and conference festivities, Trailer Space is a shambolic, D.I.Y., B.Y.O.B. refuge. Along with the lo-fi SoCal label Burger Records' all day and night Wednesday party, Burgerstock, there's a great list of shows going on. For a full schedule check out Trailer Space's website here:

DEAR AUSTIN: LOVE, L.A., 3/14, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Opal Divine’s Freehouse - 700 West 6th St.

Those looking for for the best taste of Los Angeles' up-and-coming indie rock need look no further than local blog Buzzbands LA's showcase, "DEAR AUSTIN: LOVE, L.A." As well as free drinks and giveaways for early arrivals, L.A. heros Milo Greene, PAPA, The Henry Clay People, NO, Harriet and Hands will show off their best efforts and rep their hometowns in doing so. Free, and no RSVP is necessary.

Mess With Texas (MWTX), 3/15 - 3/17
1100 E. 5th St.

Los Angeles' FYF and Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest concert promotion companies have teamed up again to bring the annual, free, all-ages "Mess With Texas" day party to SXSW. This year's lineup includes GIRLS, Built to Spill, A$AP Rocky, Cults, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Purity Ring, Titus Andronicus, Chairlift, Cloud Nothings, FIDLAR, Electric Guest and Nick Waterhouse, among others. For those interested in viewing from home, sponsors Vans and will stream live video of performances and backstage interviews, documenting the festival.

Check Yo Ponytail, Mad Decent and Fool’s Gold, 3/17 
Emo's East and Beauty Ballroom - 2015 E Riverside Dr.

Making sure no man or woman, boy or girl leaves Austin anything but exhausted and drenched in sweat, IHEARTRECORDS' Check Yo Ponytail, DJ Diplo's Mad Decent Records and DJ A-Trak's Fool's Gold Records have teamed up for the aptly named Super Party Saturday at Emo's East and Beauty Ballroom. From noon until late with nearly 40 acts on the bill, the all-ages party will feature a mix of top-billing DJs, hip-hop and rock acts, including A-Track, Diplo, rapper A$AP Rocky's A$AP Mob crew, Brooklyn buzzband The Drums, SoCal punks Wavves and the all-out headbanger Andrew W.K. performing his platinum album, I Get Wet, in its entirety. All attending should be prepared to head home sore but satisfied.

Panache Hangover Party, 3/18
Beerland - 711 Red River St.

When you wake up beaten up and battered around Sunday morning after who-knows-how-many days of free drinks and watching bands and you're waiting for your flight or sticking around Austin for another day, you might as well check out a gang of punk bands you may or may not have ever heard of rocking out like it's the end of the world at some grimy bar off Red River. Yearly, the punk-driven Panache Booking agency hosts this free "Hangover Party" as kind of a left-overs feast that never fails to please. For all those wanting for another day of music, looking for something a little rough around the edges, this might be the best party you attend all week.


Twitter: @THRMusic