Sunday, March 11, 2012

March into FREE 2012

Badgeless and Proud
Get your Music Fix for Free

By: Sean Claes
Are you the type that makes a list of places and people you want to see or are you the type that just wanders down the street listening for a sound you want to know more? Personally, I make a list.. and then throw it out the window as soon as I get downtown and let the rhythem of the music take me. In the last 5-6 years of wandering like a gypsy that feeds on good music during that 3rd week in March, I’ve discovered a few things that have helped me in my journey. I’m talking about free shows. No badges, no four letter acronym shows, nothing but good free music spread out amongst the industry bar tab that is BadgeWorld.

Below INsite shines a spotlight on three free festivals that have been a mainstay for the last few years – Texas Rockfest, Red Gorilla Music Fest, and the Wildfire Reggae and Arts Festival.

As an added bonus we’ve got a link to the ultimate Free List plus the Website for the coolest new App born in Austin that provides you with fan photos of shows as they happen.

And, of course, we're hanging at Jovita's on Thursday for the Defeat The Squares Showcase and CD release and thin you should too. Details at the end of this story.

Texas Rockfest has been a thorn in the side of the establishment for the last 12 years. It was an idea hatched as a big middle finger from creator Adam Brewer to BadgeWorld when it began, but now it stands on its own as a viable free rock festival that is based smack-dab in the middle of the downtown Austin music area. This year, the two outdoor stages are at 7th and Neches and they will also have satellite stages at Tinest Bar in Texas (817 W 5th) and two stages at Blue Moon (422 E 6th).

The 7th and Neches stage will host bands like Agony Column , A Good Rogering, and Dead Earth Politics (Wednesday 3/14), DAHEBEGEBEES, Golden State, and Dirty Wormz (Thursday 3/15), Vallejo, Casey McPherson, Eyes Burn Electric, and Art Versus Industry (Friday 3/16) and Natalie Zoe, Witchburn, and Critical Assembly (Saturday 3/17).

Visit for times and schedules for all of the bands. Did we mention that INsite has been a sponsor for Rockfest for about 5 years? We REALLY like this one.

The Red Gorilla Music Festival is one of those festivals that I ended up wandering into for a few years based on hearing good music I wanted to know more about in several downtown clubs. I started to realize it was the same festival when I suddenly noticed the.. well… red gorilla. This year they've got free shows set up at Chuggin’ Monkey (219 E. 6th Street), Blind Pig Pub (317 E. 6th Street), Thirsty Nickel (325 E. 6th Street), Darwin’s Pub (223 E. 6th Street), Dizzy Rooster (306 E. 6th Street), Whisky & Ink (209 W. 5th Street), The Rooftop Bar (403 E. 6th Street), and Touché (417 E. 6th Street).

The fun is in the discovering of new bands, but here are a few I recommend: Mingo Fishtrap (3/13 @ Blind Pig Pub), Kris Bell and Squint (3/14 @ Darwin’s Pub), (Suite 709 3/16 @ Darwin’s Pub) Nappy Roots (3/17 @ Thirsty Nickel).

Visit for the times and schedules for all of the bands.

Wildfire is the new entry in the free festival group that has caught my eye and ear in the last few years. Gregory “Episode Phive” Cooper began this multi-day free festival with a big push towards unity and love in 2010 at Ruta Maya (3601 S. Congress). Not only is this festival far removed from the downtown scene, it’s focus is more of a “let’s provide a great party with some awesome music and enjoy ourselves” than the hard-nosed “gotta get to the next showcase” environment.

If you like Reggae music and aren’t really into the mass consumtion of music at 30 different clubs in the middle of downtown Austin… this one is for you.

It goes on from Thursday 3/15 until Saturday 3/17 and local favorites like Don Chani, McPullish, Ashes of Babylon and Axis Unity are slated to play. Also slated is HR Human Rights (with members of Bad Brains and Fishbone), Zvuloon Dub System (Tel Aviv, Israel), and Micah Brown (Dana Point, California).

For a 51 track sampler of bands playing, visit
For band listings and line-up go to

Every year, the fine folks at New Music Tipsheet comb the scene and collect the information about the best free shows and events during March in Austin. It’s called the Daytime Party List: It’s where we at INsite go to find many of the “official” showcase artists playing free shows that sometimes are accompanied by free food, swag, and drinks. It’s really the best way to make your journey to free a worthwhile one.

Check out the New Music Tipsheet 2012 SXSW Daytime Party List here.

One of the biggest buzz Apps this year is the homegrown (Austin) App called Vivogig. With this app the fan becomes the event photographer and they can upload photos of performances AS THEY HAPPEN. Can’t make it to Austin in March? You can check out pictures on In the middle of the action and want to share some photos instantly? Download the App and use it to post to your Facebook as well as on the frontpage of the Vivogig site. Just FYI, Vivogig isn’t just for March and not just for Austin… it can be used for any show in any city on any night. It’s just being launched in Austin, so the front page features folks like Radiohead, Girls, Flametrick Subs, Art Versus Industry and Quiet Company intermingling with Ted Nugent (who played IL) and Los Straightjackets (playing TN).

Vivogig for iPhone -

Oh.. and just for good measure, INsite is getting in on the action over at Jovitas and we're supporting our friends at Defeat The Squares with their showcase on Thursday, March 15. Six great bands and a free CD that has music from a bunch of really fantastic bands intermingled with comedy. And yes, Virgina, it's all free too.

So, get out there and have yourself some free. Oh, and do me a favor, sign up, go download the free app and share your free with us at INsite. We love a good free… and it’s even better when you share with friends.

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