South by Southwest Festival is asking you to open up your home to artists from around the world.
It's part of the SXSW International Artist Home Share program, where the festival pairs international bands with local Austinites, who can offer them a place to stay.
"This is one of the bands from Scotland called Prides,” said Robin Dusek, a local Austinite who hosts bands through the program.
Dusek showed KVUE her collection of mementos from International Bands.
"It's just been amazing, and a great opportunity to expand your perspective," said Dusek.
2018 will mark Dusek's 9th year hosting International bands in her home during SXSW. She said hosting the bands is her favorite part about living in Austin.
After paying to travel internationally, the program helps the bands save on costs.
"So many times they'll say we couldn't come if we hadn't been assigned here,” said Dusek. "They have all been perfect house guests, they have been amazing, they are just so grateful."
In 2017, they had 544 international acts from 60 different countries.
"I've hosted New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, London, and the London band had Sweden with them and 6 from Scotland,” said Dusek.
Dusek calls the program a mutual learning experience.
"The first band from New Zealand, I was like 'oh welcome to Austin, here's what we do, we eat tacos, we have queso,' and they thought queso was the worst thing they had ever tried and they thought I was playing a joke on them,” said Dusek.
Dusek also tries to take the bands to The Salt Lick for barbeque and to see the Bats on the Congress Avenue bridge.
But, she said there are a few things they ask about, including local brews and other beverages.
"A lot of them have heard about Lone Star and so they always want to get Lone Star. So, I usually try to have Shiner and Lone Star and Mexican coke in the refrigerator," said Dusek. "A lot of American things seem to surprise them, like I guess the butter that's on the tables at restaurants.”
But, the bands don’t always have time to see the sights.
"Sometimes, I've picked them up at the airport and been like the welcome to Austin and Texas and sometimes the U.S., and other times they've been pretty independent," said Dusek.
Dusek told KVUE she’s hosted anywhere between three and seven band members, sometimes even two bands simultaneously -- something that was difficult to do in her previous 700 square foot cottage.
"The most was six, and that was super cozy but they were all such good sports about it," said Dusek.
Dusek admits she did have some reservations at first about allowing a group of strangers into her home.
"I was just like what is this going to be like, and then I picked them up at the airport and they were all awesome,” said Dusek.
But, the Austinite has a soft spot for these band members who travel so far from home.
"I had a friend in a band when I was in college and he mentioned whenever they were on tour, they always liked to get a home cooked meal and so from that point on, whenever we knew of a band coming through that we knew, we would invite them over for a home cooked meal,” said Dusek.
Through hosting the groups, she’s had a few interesting experiences.
“One time, a band filmed a video at my house, which was pretty cool," Dusek said. "And then another time, a band used all their pictures from SXSW for their next video and my dog made the cut for that."
The experiences with the bands have developed into friendships for Dusek.
"They're in your house for a week, so there's a lot of time to hang out and talk,” said Dusek.
If you want to host a band, according to SXSW, it's best if you live near downtown or public transportation.
You're not responsible for the band's food or transportation, but they do require you to provide a basic bed, like an air mattress or pull out couch, not the floor.
And for opening your home, SXSW will give you a Music Festival wristband.
"This is because I love music, and I want to experience that,” said Dusek. "I always make it a point to go see their shows."
The experience leaves a lasting impression for both sides, too.
"Thanks Robin, you've given us a true taste of Texan hospitality and we will never forget it,” said Dusek as she reads the thank you notes displayed in her office. “I mean they're so great, so it’s totally my pleasure.”
Dusek keeps in touch with most of the bands on social media.
"Some of the groups have dissipated, which was sad, but then other ones have kind of morphed or now they're doing great things," said Dusek.
SXSW has already paired Dusek with a band for this year’s festival.
"They're so so very grateful, for example, the band that's coming this year, I've already received emails form all of them thanking me in advance just because they're so grateful,” said Dusek.
The SXSW festival runs from March 9 through March 18, and the music portion only lasts from March 12 through March 18.
If you want to be a host, you can apply here.