Non-Concert Interactive music events in Austin

Reya Mosby and Sage Dunlap

The Austin music scene draws many students nationwide to the University of Texas with promises of bustling concerts and live music experiences. However, for students looking for more laid-back and accessible ways to celebrate a love of music and performing, The Daily Texan compiled a list of events and venues for students looking for more interactive musical experiences.

Four Record Friday

While its stained glass mosaics and decadent chandeliers boast an intimidating ambience, Higher Ground transforms into one of Austin’s most fun dance party venues. Every week, the church-themed bar nestled on Congress Avenue holds “Four Record Friday,” a 4-hour-long dance party where one lucky attendee can receive the four albums played back to back at the end of the night. Featured albums include a combination of new and old classics, from Beyonce’s RENAISSANCE to Nirvana’s Nevermind. 

To enter a drawing for the featured vinyl pressings, attendees can post a photo from Four Record Friday on their Instagram story and tag @whenwherewhataustin — an organizer for the event. According to the When Where What Instagram account, the next opportunity to attend Four Record Friday will be Friday, where punk and alternative-rock fans can enjoy Fontaines D.C.’s Skinty Fia, Arctic Monkeys’ Suck It and See and more.


Karaoke at The Highball

The Highball Bar — a hidden gem on South Lamar Boulevard — offers a wondrous escape for film buffs and amateur popstars alike. This dreamlike venue offers seven private karaoke rooms themed to different famous film settings, including a room inspired by the Black Lodge from Twin Peaks and an eerie funhouse-themed experience.

The fantastical lounge offers “classic cocktails in a cool setting,” according to the venue’s Instagram. Aside from its colorful rooms and extensive catalog of songs — available to peruse through the venue’s mobile app — the bar also shares its space with an Alamo Drafthouse, making it a movie-lovers paradise. Reservations for private karaoke start at $20 per hour.


Music Mixers

Historic Victory Grill, a treasured landmark for music in Austin and home to legendary live performances from artists like James Brown and Billie Holiday, hosts weekly Music Mixers for those who like to play music. During these mixers, random assortments of musicians join together on stage and perform songs of their choice on the spot to see if chemistry strikes and the impromptu band can make something great. 

The event offers free entry for both performing and watching, so music lovers who enjoy playing and listening can find joy in the thrill of this live music experience. According to Victory Grill’s Facebook post advertising the event, the mixers aim to “grow the modern music scene in Austin by connecting like-minded musicians with each other.” Participate or watch the next Historic Victory Grill Music Mixer on Sept. 8. 


Free Monday Tango

While getting a caffeine fix or grabbing a quick bite to eat, coffee lovers at Halcyon’s Mueller location can attend authentic Argentine Tango lessons on Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Taught by the nonprofit organization Esquina Tango Cultural Society of Austin, they offer lessons for anybody excited and willing to learn, with no previous experience in Argentine Tango required.

According to their website, Esquina Tango, an East Austin-based organization founded in 2006, strives to “provide the Austin community with a unique dance experience, as well as cultural awareness of Latin American countries.” While usually hosting dance lessons in their tango studio in East Austin, Esquina Tango swaps out their remodeled church for a late-night coffee shop for three and a half hours of music, dancing and coffee on Monday evenings.