Austin nonprofit Black Fret has come a long way in just four short years, with $730,000 in grant giving to the local music scene. When combined with direct payments to artists for performances and a new, secondary grant program, the total financial impact reaches over $1 million. At the recent Black Fret Ball on Dec. 9, the nonprofit awarded a total of $230,000 to grant nominees. The show featured live performances by many nominees to a completely packed and enthusiastic house at The Paramount Theatre. Major grant recipients who each received $18,000 include The Bright Light Social Hour, Carolyn Wonderland, Eric Tessmer, Jackie Venson, Leopold and his Fiction, Mobley, Sarah Sharp, The Deer, Warren Hood and the Whiskey Shivers. Minor grant recipients who each received $5,555 include Akina Adderley, Cowboy Diplomacy, Croy and the Boys, Daniel Eyes, David Ramirez, Greyhounds, Jane Ellen Bryant, Kinky Machine and Los Coast. Black Pistol Fire, who was also nominated for a grant, chose to remove themselves from consideration and asked that Black Fret allocate funds they would have received to the minor grant recipients. The Black Fret Ball was presented by DELL. Additional sponsors included Deloitte, GSD&M, Ben E. Keith, New York Life, SunPower, Zoho, Whole Foods, Personify and Burkhart Dentistry. Media sponsors for the evening included KUT/KUTX, Austin Way, CultureMap, Austin Chronicle, Austin Monthly, Tribeza and Do512.com. For more info on Black Fret, please see http://www.blackfret.org.
“We’re beyond thankful for this grant and beyond ecstatic for what Black Fret is doing for the future of Austin music and the music community at large,” said major grant winner Jack O’Brien of The Bright Light Social Hour. “Black Fret is not only a beacon of hope and help but of innovation and imagination. The Ball was a magical and unforgettable display of unity and support, and this grant will be going directly to the fulfillment of our dream of independently recording our flagship record.”
“As a musician you do a lot to organize your life around maintaining hope,” said major grant winner Mobley (aka Anthony Watkins). “When I initially heard about Black Fret, it sounded too good to be true and I refused to get my hopes up. But as I got to know the organizers and members better, it became clear that they really are all about helping musicians and I allowed myself to hope. I’m immensely grateful for the grant and especially for my hope being rewarded.”
“It’s clear that it is the people who love their city and its music that are really making the difference,” said Matt Ott, Black Fret co-founder. “Seeing our amazing artists, music industry mentors and Black Fret members come together to build this community of support, love and great music is a testament to the concept that by coming together we can support and nurture the music and musicians we love that helps make Austin such a great place to live. Every member that joins us helps us fulfill this dream and has a great time doing it, immersed in incredible music at amazing events while lending their voice by nominating their favorite Austin bands.”
“For Black Fret to have put over a million dollars into the pockets of Austin musicians in just four years is a huge accomplishment that is making a demonstrable difference not only in the lives of our city’s amazing musicians, but also the lives of our members,” said Colin Kendrick, Black Fret Founder. “We see albums and songs being created and released that never would have been if not for our Black Fret grants. And we see hundreds of Black Fret members’ lives enhanced by being plugged into the music scene in really cool and intimate ways. This act of connecting and the community that has come of it is the promise and power of Black Fret made real.”
Black Fret has also announced details for its next major event, the Black Fret 2018 Season Kickoff, taking place on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at the Mohawk located at 912 Red River St., Austin, Texas 78701. Doors are at 7 p.m. The event will feature some of Austin’s most exceptional musicians performing for Austin’s Patrons of Local Music – the Black Fret Members and their guests. To attend the event, you can join Black Fret by signing up to become a member here: http://www.blackfret.org/join.
Featured Image: Nicola Gell