If you’re a fan of live music, first of all, you’ve come to the right town. Secondly, you’re in for a treat next week: each year, some of the city’s top live music venues, from outdoor amphitheaters to beloved dive bars, open their doors for free live shows the first week of January as part of a celebration called “Free Week.” Almost exclusively showcasing bands that call Austin their home, the event gets you into places like Beerland, Red 7, The Mohawk, Beauty Ballroom, Stubb’s, The Scoot Inn, Holy Mountain, Frank, Swan Dive, Antone’s, Flamingo Cantina, Emo’s, Lamberts, The Parish, and more. The best part: it actually lasts for two weeks straight, despite the name. See the event’s official website for exact dates, times and show details.
January 1-13, 2o13; multiple bars around town
get the full scoop here
Each summer on the south shore of Town Lake, the Austin Symphony hosts a free series of mini-concerts on the lawn of the Long Center, courtesy of the Hartman Foundation. Revelers dot the grass with picnic blankets and baskets, cheese and wine, taking in the sights and sounds of the city’s finest classical musicians. There’s something for the kiddos, too: the illuminated tiles at the front of the stage tend to transform into a dance floor for the elementary school set during the summer series, making a sweet evening outing even more adorable. Midway through the series, the event will continue taking place each Sunday through the end of August.
Free admission: Sundays, August 12, 19 and 26, 7:30 pm
Long Center front lawn, 701 West Riverside Drive
Learn more about Austin Symphony events here
This week’s rains brought with them an added benefit: they cooled things off just enough to allow for a perfectly comfortable evening of free music under the big Texas sky. The Bob Bullock museum’s annual “Music Under the Star” series is back again, gracing our ears every Friday in July at 6 pm with al fresco performances from some of the Lone Star State’s finest under the museum’s iconic star. This week, Kelly Willis and Ruby Jane grace the stage with neotraditionalist country leanings and killer fiddling chops. The show starts at 6; consider arriving early with a blanket or lawn chair to snag a spot and enjoy refreshments from local vendors. Yet another reason to TGIF.
Friday, July 13, 6-9 pm
Front lawn of Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
Corner of Martin Luther King & Congress Avenues
Austin is known worldwide for its live music scene, but in reality, that moniker generally refers to rock, country and blues. This weekend, though, Chaos in Tejas
brings the noise with a mix of punk and metal taking over Mohawk and Red 7 from Thursday through Sunday in a musical melee hearkening back to the heyday of places like CBGB’s and bands like The Ramones and the Sex Pistols. Full festival tickets are sold out, but individual show tickets and weekend club passes are still available on the official website.
Thursday through Sunday at Mohawk and Red 7, downtown
for schedules, tickets and details
As progressive, weird and forward-thinking as Austin might be, it still knows how to honor an age-old tradition. This weekend, for the 34th year in a row, 6th Street will close itself off from traffic and line up food and craft tents as far as the eye can see, with musical performances dotting the street all weekend long. The Pecan Street Festival
, a decades-old event that takes place twice a year, hearkens back to a time when all the numbered streets downtown were named after types of trees — 6th Street being, of course, Pecan Street. The biannual celebration of local culture is free, not to mention incredibly kid-friendly (check out the kids’ art tent hosted by Michael’s at the corner of 6th and Jacinto). Four-legged friends are welcome too.
Saturday, May 5, noon – 9 pm
Sunday, May 6, noon – 6 pm
6th Street, west of Red River (see website for full details)