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7 free things to do during SXSW 2014

Walking around and people watching is a great way to enjoy SXSW
Walking around and people watching is a great way to enjoy SXSWMichael Plata

For those wanting to be part of SXSW Music, but are discouraged because of a lack of a badge or wristband, don't worry. There are lots of free ways to enjoy the festival. Music can be heard pouring out from every venue. All you have to do is stop and listen. In addition, there are opportunities for free swag and other goodies as well as the copious amounts of free day parties. One only needs to RSVP and get there early to enjoy those. Here is a short list of free or almost free things to do while downtown for the fest. Stay tuned to examiner.com for more coverage of SXSW Music 2014.

1. Visit the Bates Motel
1. Visit the Bates Motel Michael Plata

1. Visit the Bates Motel

Stop by the temporary Bates Motel and take your pic in front of the iconic setting promoting the A&E series.  The vending machine in front is rumored to have free Mary Jane munchies, but I've only encountered a sign stating they are out. 

2. Relax at the Marlboro Black Lounge
2. Relax at the Marlboro Black Lounge Michael Plata

2. Relax at the Marlboro Black Lounge

Stop by the Marlboro Black Lounge for some free Red Bulls, phone recharging stations, photo booths, t-shirts, sunglasses, and $1 packs of Marlboro.  Must be 21+ and be willing to divulge some personal information. 

3. Dance in the street
3. Dance in the street Michael Plata

3. Dance in the street

During SXSW, music can be heard coming from every direction.  You don't need a badge or wristband to join in the fun and dance in the street.  No one is going to judge you. 

4.  Enjoy the many street performers
4. Enjoy the many street performers Michael Plata

4. Enjoy the many street performers

Catch some talented individuals or groups playing on the street.  It seems as though you can't walk fifty feet without bumping into another impromptu jam session.  You'll know the band is really good when it draws a crowd.  So stop and have a listen.

5.  Look for the signs stating Free Music
5. Look for the signs stating Free Music Michael Plata

5. Look for the signs stating Free Music

Not all venues require a badge or wristband.  Although they are limited, you can still catch a good band while enjoying a drink with your friends.  Just keep an eye out for the Free Live Music signs.

6. Ask this guy for directions
6. Ask this guy for directions Michael Plata

6. Ask this guy for directions

Getting around downtown Austin isn't difficult, but after a few free drinks, you might lose your orientation.  If you get lost or need to know where the party is, just ask this guy.

7. Listen to a good band like the Moonlight Towers
7. Listen to a good band like the Moonlight Towers Michael Plata

7. Listen to a good band like the Moonlight Towers

For those from out of town, catching a great local band like the Moonlight Towers is a great way to round out your Austin experience.  The band performed at the Chicken Ranch Records Showcase at Valhalla on 03.11.2014.