Black Fret is a public charity headquartered in Austin whose mission is to empower musicians to create and perform great new music. The organization is an innovative evolution of the age-old symphony patronage model that is focused on supporting popular local music. Together, BlackFret‘s limited membership will build an endowed institution capable of sustaining more than a million dollars a year in grants to Austin’s artists.
“It’s an honor to be part of such a talented class of nominees,” said Max Frost. “I know that whoever wins will use the grant to benefit their careers and the Austin arts community in the same way the community has benefited them.”
Black Fret is also proud to announce five new Advisory Board Members including Marsha Milam of Marsha Milam Music, Rusty Zagst of Shady Grove, Wofford Denius of Eisner Jaffe, Pat Cassidy of Clean Bill Management and Jim Eno of Public Hi-Fi and Spoon.
“The music industry has completely changed,” said Jim Eno, Black Fret Advisory Board Member and drummer for Spoon. “Where before a label may hear a couple of songs and give an artist money to complete an album, those days are gone. Now artists are expected to complete their own high quality, finished product on their own.
“To see that the love of our city’s music by our city’s fans has propelled us to over 200 members is a testament to the generosity of Austinites and to their desire to support the music that makes this city great,” said Colin Kendrick, Black Fret Founder. “We are honored to be able to give even more than last year at this year’s Black Ball on December 4 at the Paramount. But before then, we will have a phenomenal time showcasing our nominees and new talent to our members. This is the perfect time to join Black Fret and help us grow to do even more for our city’s music.”
“With over 330 individual Austin bands receiving nominating votes by ourBlack Fret Members, our Advisory Board and our prior year Black FretGrant Recipients (in addition to the top two new bands from the Austin Music Awards), it is more clear than ever that the depth of talent in Austin is mind blowing,” said Matt Ott, Black Fret Co-Founder. “And it is also clear that our twenty 2015 nominees represents just the tip of the iceberg of amazing music Austin is delivering to the world.”
The next event for Black Fret is Art City Austin happening in downtown Austin on April 25 and 26. This year’s music lineup will play on the BlackFret Music Stage Presented by KUTX 98.9, which will be located at the west end of the festival. The lineup will include a number of 2014 BlackFret grant recipients and 2015 nominees including Amy Cook, East Cameron Folkcore, Elias Haslanger & Church on Monday, Elizabeth McQueen, Erin Ivey, Graham Wilkinson, Jazz Mills, Jitterbug Vipers, Jonny Gray, Lincoln Durham, Not in the Face, The Nightowls and other special guests. The next listening season house party event will be on May 16 at a private residence. Those who wish to become a member ofBlack Fret to attend upcoming events can sign up atwww.blackfret.org/join.
“This music deserves the community’s support,” said Colin Kendrick. “It is true art and the life blood of this city. We are truly moved every time a member joins, an advisor agrees to serve or a musician accepts their nomination. We thank everyone who is involved with us and has helped us grow so quickly and encourage every Austinite who loves their city to check us out and enjoy the wonderful musical experiences that make Austin such a great place to live and create art.”
Last November, Black Fret gave out $100,000 in grants to local Austin musicians. The 2014 Black Fret Grant Recipients were announced at The Black Ball, Black Fret‘s annual gala and included Amy Cook, Elizabeth McQueen, Erin Ivey, Gina Chavez, Graham Wilkinson, Lincoln Durham, Mother Falcon, Quiet Company, The Rocketboys andWild Child. This inaugural class of Black Fret Grant Recipients and the new Recipients will now “unlock” their grant dollars in 2015 by writing, recording and performing new music and by providing community services to other area non-profits. As the artists unlock the grant dollars, Black Fretmembers will receive regular updates and private glimpses into the lives and creative processes of those artists. In addition to their grants, all grant recipients will have continued access to one-on-one mentoring from BlackFret‘s Advisory Board, which consists of some of Austin’s top music industry leaders.
“We are ecstatic to feel this much momentum and support from our city,” said Matt Ott. “I’ve lived here since 1978 and music has been a huge part of my life as an Austinite. As Black Fret grows with the city, I am confident we will reach more musicians, more fans will become Patrons of Local Music by joining Black Fret and we will all do even more to help keep Austin’s music scene thriving.”
Black Fret receives ongoing support from generous sponsors such as theGibson Brands Showroom, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, ABGB, Juice Consulting LLC, DeMaris Entertainment, Nomad Sound, Miscellaneous Rentals, Austin Monthly, LoneStarMusic Magazine and Enterprising People.