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Free Week Music Festival returns with 100+ no-cover concerts in the New Year

Free Week and Hot Summer Nights Festivals are both free of charge to live music lovers. (Red River Cultural District)

Austin’s famous live music scene is roaring back to life in the New Year, starting with Red River Cultural District’s annual Free Week Music Festival. This will be the first Free Week festival since 2020.


It’s exactly what it sounds like: More than 100 local musicians will perform at nine of the district’s favorite venues from Jan. 6-8, completely admission-free. Notable local names like Blackillac, Deezie Brown and Superfónicos will give rare, cover-free shows.

Historically taking over the district on the first weekend of the year, Free Week started back in 2003 as a way to “keep the lights on” while winter months slowed traffic down and has continued ever since. RRCD also hosts another free festival, Hot Summer Nights, bringing free music to the warmer months as well.

The free festival is coming back after a year hiatus. (Red River Cultural District)


The multi-genre concerts will occur at classic venues: Cheer Up Charlie’s, Elysium, Empire Control Room & Garage, Flamingo Cantina, Mohawk, Stubb’s, Swan Dive, The Green Jay and Valhalla.

In addition to the artists above, almost 100 other musicians will take to the stage in the New Year, including Billy King and the Bad Bad Bad, Lord Friday the 13th, TC Superstar, Primo the Alien, Mike Melinoe, and Bright Light Social Hour. Many of the artists performed at ACL 2021.

Though daily schedules aren’t set to be released until a few days prior to the beginning of the festival, a breakdown of which artists will play which venues can be found here. Live music lovers will be able to catch their shows without a reservation.

Starting on Thursday, Jan. 6, each of the performances is paid for the artists thanks to sponsors Lone Star Beer, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Desert Door Distillery, Airbnb, Rambler Sparkling Water, Red Bull, Downtown Austin Alliance, and EQ Austin, as well as media partners including Do512, Showlist Austin and When Where What Austin.

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By Jonathan Lee

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Freaky Floats and other Austin food & drink news
Austin Motel

What's new in Austin food & drink this week:

  • Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
  • Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
  • Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
  • Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
  • Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
  • Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
  • The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
  • Local startup It's Skinnyscored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
  • P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.