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. The 2017 “Listening Period” will kick off on April 8 and will lead to the awarding of grants to all 20 of the 2017 Black Fret Nominees by Black Fret members at the 2017 Black Fret Ball on Dec. 9, 2017 at the Paramount Theater.
Over the last three years, Black Fret has awarded $500,000 to local Austin artists. Black Fret grant recipients must create new music, perform outside Austin or perform for other Austin nonprofits to “unlock” their grant funds. To date, Black Fret Artists have unlocked their grant funds through the creation of 190 new songs, 156 studio recordings and the release of 61 finished songs. They have performed 240 U.S. and 31 international tour dates and have held 84 community service performances for other local charities.
This year alone, Black Fret has been covered in national media outlets such as Pitchfork (article here) and Forbes (article here) and is gaining momentum for what will be growth into other great music cites.
Black Fret will hold two festival events in March which will be open to the public to attend: the Black Fret SXSW Austin Music Showcase on Friday, March 17 and Saturday March 18 from noon to 6 p.m. each day at the North Door in Austin, Texas. That will be followed by the Art City Austin festival at Palmer Auditorium on March 31 through April 2 for which Black Fret will curate the Black Fret Music Stage. The lineups for both events will include past Black Fret Artists, 2017 Black Fret nominees and other special guests. The private, members-only Black Fret Listening Season will kick off on April 8. Those who wish to attend private Black Fret events may become a member of Black Fret by signing up at www.blackfret.org/join. All memberships provide entry for the member and a guest to all upcoming 2017 Black Fret events, including the annual Black Fret Ball. For inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and for more info see www.blackfret.org.
In addition to their grants, all Black Fret Nominees have continued access to mentoring from Black Fret’s Advisory Board, which consists of 37 of Austin’s top music industry leaders. Newly added advisors include Codey Allen, Evan Blanc, Jen Dalton, Danny Gillespie, Layne Lauritzen, Michael Ramos, Dick Reeves, Chris “Frenchi” Smith and Graham Williams. Existing advisors are Mark Addison, Heather Alden, Roggie Baer, Pat Cassidy, Reenie Collins, Mike Crowley, Wofford Denius, CJ Eiriksson, Jim Eno, Nigel Finley, Will Hoffman, Jennifer Houlihan, Terrany Johnson, Terry Lickona, Weston McGowen, Davis McLarty, Marsha Milam, Matt Noveskey, Tim Palmer, George Reiff, Peter Schwarz, Carlos Sosa, Joe Stallone, Stuart Sullivan, Heather Wagner Reed, Kevin Wommack, Tom Vale and Rusty Zagst. For more information, please see www.blackfret.org/category/advisors.