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Who Needs SXSW? Dallas’ March Madness Festival Has a Great Lineup and It’s Free

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If you’re already fatigued of all the talk of SXSW, and the attendant hype surrounding who’s playing where and what ridiculous things a person has to do to get in (example: Lady Gaga will be playing Stubb’s BBQ; entrance requires snatching a ticket from the hands of a roller derby player while skating a lap in an inflatable sumo suit), you can relax. A couple of hundred miles north of the Austin craziness, a more traditional music festival—with marquee events that are significantly easier to get into—will be taking place soon.

The recently-announced March Madness Festival in Dallas (which, contrary to its name, takes place April 4-6) has SXSW-worthy headliners, including recent SXSW vet Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, as well as The Killers, Fun., Jason Aldean, and Tim McGraw—but entrance is free, on a first-come, first-served basis.

The event, of course, isn’t intended as an antidote to SXSW—the NCAA Final Four is being held in Dallas this year, and the concert happens wherever the tournament is held—but it’s hard not to put the two in contrast, given the way the Austin event dominates news cycles during the week it occurs.

The headliners at the March Madness Festival are broken up into times of day—on Saturday, for example, Tim McGraw headlines the afternoon, while The Killers take the nighttime slot. On Sunday, meanwhile, Fun. will lead into Springsteen. There’ll be additional acts announced as the event gets closer—but those who are already overloaded with the absurdity that accompanies SXSW, but who still want to see some big-name music without paying a lot of money for it have an alternative in North Texas this year. 

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