(AUSTIN, TEXAS – November 2014; source: Juice Consulting) – Austin nonprofit Black Fret hosted its inaugural Black Ball gala on Saturday, Nov. 8 at The Paramount Theatre where the 2014 Black Fret Grant Recipients were officially announced. The 2014 Black Fret grant recipients are Amy Cook, Elizabeth McQueen, Erin Ivey, Gina Chavez, Graham Wilkinson, Lincoln Durham, Mother Falcon, Quiet Company, The Rocketboys and Wild Child.
“The Black Ball was truly amazing,” said Black Fret Founder Colin Kendrick. “You could feel the love and profound respect of our members for these musicians we so cherish. Next year we are on track to double our grant giving and with every new member we can do that much more to support Austin’s musicians.”
The Black Ball featured performances by many of the 2014 Black Fret Nominees, including Amy Cook, Danny Malone, East Cameron Folkcore, Elias Haslanger, Elizabeth McQueen, Emily Bell, Erin Ivey, Gina Chavez, Graham Wilkinson, Jitterbug Vipers, Jonny Gray, Little Radar, Lincoln Durham, Mother Falcon, Quiet Company and The Rocketboys. Special guests Shawn Colvin and Riders Against the Storm also joined the stage that evening.
“It was incredible to have 16 of our nominees play and to see our nominees, advisors and members all come together in such a beautiful way to support our local music to the tune of $100,000 and a whole lot of love,” said Matt Ott, Black Fret Co-Founder.
“I am grateful and honored to have won a Black Fret grant,” said grant recipient Amy Cook. “The ball was magical and inspiring, and it was really humbling to be surrounded by so much love and so much talent.”
Founded in January of 2013, Black Fret is a 501(c)3 public charity headquartered in Austin, Texas. Black Fret is built upon the simple principle that popular local music, like the symphony and opera, is worthy of community support. To that end, Black Fret is gathering a limited group of 1,333 Patrons of Local Music, each of whom will make a $1,500 annual contribution. At capacity, these contributions will create an annual pool of $2,000,000 that will fund grants, performances and operations while building an institutional endowment that will fund growth in future grants.
“I’m still in a state of delighted shock at having been awarded a Black Fret Grant,” said grant recipient Elizabeth McQueen. “The amount of talent in the nominee field was staggering, and reaffirmed to me how lucky I am to live in this city. Austin has been growing and changing, and Black Fret is harnessing that change for good, in service of supporting what makes Austin unique and amazing — music and the musicians who make it.”
Now that grant recipients are chosen, they will then be able to “unlock” their grant dollars in 2015 by writing, recording and performing new music and by providing community services to other area nonprofits. As the artists unlock the grant dollars, Black Fret members will receive regular updates and private glimpses into the life and creative process of those artists. In addition to the $10,000 grant, the ten grant recipients and 2014 grant nominees will have continued access to one-on-one mentoring from Black Fret’s Advisory Board, which consists of some of Austin’s top music industry leaders. For more information, please visit http://www.blackfret.org/advisors/.
“The Black Ball could’ve only happened in Austin,” said grant recipients Quiet Company. “Fans, sponsors, engineers and artist all gathered in the beautiful Paramount Theatre for an amazing night of music and celebration. We are honored to be a part of it.”
The Black Ball was sponsored by Gibson Brands Inc., Tito’s Handmade Vodka, LoudMouth Rentals FX Financial, RK Audiology, Pure Gold Realty, Shady Grove, Nomad Sound and Miscellaneous Rentals and is honored to have generous support from media sponsors KUTX Music 98.9, The Austin Chronicle, Austin Monthly, Lone Star Music Magazine and CultureMap.
“It’s hard to find the words to express how grateful/honored/floored/humbled we are at being one of Black Fret’s inaugural group of grant recipients,” said grant recipients The Rocketboys. “There are still people out there who appreciate music, and the musicians who create it. Thanks to Colin and Matt for being such great supporters of live music, and for creating such an amazing, empowering community of people to get behind us as we follow our dreams of making music.”
Now that the Black Ball is complete, the annual process starts over as Black Fret begins its 2015 Artist Selection Process commencing with the “Nomination Period” during which Black Fret members will explore new bands so that members are well versed in Austin’s talent pool and ready to choose the group of nominees for 2015. In March, Black Fret will announce the short list of 2015 Black Fret Nominees and begin the next “Listening Period” ultimately leading up to the selection by its members of the next group of Black Fret grant recipients.
“With every new member that joins we can show that much more support for the local music that is the life blood of our city,” said Matt Ott. “Joining Black Fret not only makes you a Patron of Local Music but also an active participant in keeping Austin Austin.”
“To have been part of this inaugural group of Black Fret nominees and shared the stage with so many phenomenal Austin musicians is gift enough,” said grant recipient Gina Chavez.
“This kind of support for indie music is unprecedented and the most exciting part is that Black Fret is ultimately about community, and one that’s only just begun to show its love for local musicians.”
“It was an honor to make that list of nominees and be included with such an amazing group of Austin musicians,” said grant recipient Graham Wilkinson. “Receiving such an incredible gift like this is not only flattering and validating, but overwhelming. I am extremely grateful and excited about 2015!”
“Black Fret is important in elevating the conversation for many Austin musicians, and I am truly honored to be one of the first grant recipients,” said grant recipient Erin Ivey.
“Thank you to all you, apparently, equally disturbed folks for helping me to make more ugly tunes, said grant recipient Lincoln Durham. “Your backing is humbling.”
In early 2014, Black Fret reached its initial goal of 100 members who have provided the funds and selected this year’s 20 nominees for Black Fret’s first ten $10,000 grants for Austin’s musicians. The 20 nominees for this year’s grants were: Amy Cook, Danny Malone, Dawn and Hawkes, East Cameron Folkcore, Elias Haslanger and Church on Monday, Elizabeth McQueen, Emily Bell, Erin Ivey, Gina Chavez, Graham Wilkinson, Jitterbug Vipers, Jonny Gray, Lincoln Durham, Little Radar, Mother Falcon, Quiet Company, The Rocketboys, The Whiskey Sisters, Wild Child and Zeale.
“It was such an honor to be among all of these amazing musicians and to play on the Paramount Stage,” said grant nominee Sarah Sharp of the Jitterbug Vipers. “I’m still reliving the whole night. All I could think about was playing on that stage for such a music-loving audience and how that might lead to more and better bookings. It was like getting to be in the coolest talent show ever.”
“We are a community, but Black Fret has made us truly a family,” said grant nominee Emily Bell.
About Black Fret:
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, Black Fret’s limited membership will build an endowed institution capable of sustaining more than a million dollars a year in grants to Austin’s artists. Once Black Fret reaches its membership cap of 1,333 members, Black Fret’s core program will allow its members to select more than 40 artists each year to receive $25,000 grants on a sustained and ongoing basis. Built around this core, the organization will be able to offer a host of other grant programs to serve the needs of the broader community. Black Fret’s limited group of members will constitute a social network of dynamic friends dedicated to good music, good times and to seeing Austin’s artists prosper. Annual Black Fret member dues are $1,500, breaking down to less than $100 a month after tax. Many members have access to a corporate charitable giving match program (such as offered by Dell and other major employers) that can reduce the monthly cost to less than $50 a month. In return for annual dues, members will be rewarded with unprecedented personal access to the city’s top artists through a broad range of private events including monthly shows in intimate venues and an incredible annual gala event named The Black Ball. Those who wish to become a member of Black Fret can sign up at http://blackfret.org/join. For more information, please visit www.blackfret.org/.
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