Black Fret awards $500,000 in grants in just three short years to local musicians; this year’s Black Fret Ball will offer another unforgettable evening in Austin music while adding significantly to this tradition of giving

(AUSTIN, TEXAS – July 31, 2017, source: Juice Consulting) – Austin nonprofit Black Fret has announced the date for the fourth annual Black Fret Ball at The Paramount Theatre taking place on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, where its 2017 grant recipients will be announced. The evening will include performances by many of the 2017 Black Fret Nominees. This year’s Black Fret Ball will be sponsored by Dell, Deloitte and Sunpower, with additional sponsors forthcoming. Anyone wishing to attend the Black Fret Ball may become a member of Black Fret by signing up at All Black Fret memberships provide entry for the member and a guest to all upcoming Black Fret events as well. For more info on Black Fret, go to

“This fourth Black Fret Ball will be the cap on an amazing 2017 season,” said Matt Ott, Co-Founder of Black Fret. “We’ve awarded $500,000 over the last three Black Fret Balls and are honored to deliver grants to all 20 of our 2017 Black Fret Nominees on Dec. 9 at the Paramount.”

Colin Kendrick and Matt Ott

Photo credit: Amy Price
Colin Kendrick, Founder and Matt Ott, Co-Founder of Black Fret

The 2017 Black Fret Grant Nominees include Akina Adderley, Black Pistol Fire, Bright Light Social Hour, Carolyn Wonderland, Cowboy Diplomacy, Croy and the Boys, Daniel Eyes, David Ramirez, Eric Tessmer, Greyhounds, Jackie Venson, Jane Ellen Bryant, Kinky Machine, Leopold and his Fiction, Los Coast, Mobley, Sarah Sharp, The Deer, Warren Hood, and Whiskey Shivers.

“Our mission is to fund the creation and performance of local music in our great city,” said Colin Kendrick, Black Fret Founder. “Austinites continue to step up and join Black Fret to support our musicians and their music. It’s amazing to be part of such a dynamic community.”

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. To date, Black Fret has awarded $500,000 in grant dollars to local Austin artists. Black Fret grant recipients unlock their grant dollars by writing, recording and performing new music and by providing community services to other area nonprofits. To date, Black Fret grants have resulted in 332 U.S. tour dates, 228 songs written, 197 songs recorded, 111 charitable performances, 101 songs and videos released, and 31 international tour dates to date.

In addition to their grants, all Black Fret nominees 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. Advisors include Mark Addison, Heather Alden, Codey Allen, Roggie Baer, Evan Blanc, Pat Cassidy, Reenie Collins, Mike Crowley, Jen Dalton, Wofford Denius, CJ Eiriksson, Jim Eno, Nigel Finley, Danny Gillespie, Will Hoffman, Jennifer Houlihan, Terrany Johnson, Layne Lauritzen, Terry Lickona, Weston McGowen, Davis McLarty, Marsha Milam, Matt Noveskey, Tim Palmer, Michael Ramos, Peter Schwarz, Chris “Frenchi” Smith, Carlos Sosa, Joe Stallone, Stuart Sullivan, Heather Wagner Reed, Dick Reeves, Graham Williams, Kevin Wommack, and Rusty Zagst. Prior to his passing this year, George Reiff also served as an advisor. For more information, please see

Jackie Venson

Photo credit: Nicola Gell
Jackie Venson, 2017 Black Fret Grant Nominee

At last year’s Black Ball, the 2016 grant recipients were announced in front of a sold-out house of over 1,100 attendees. Ten major grant recipients each received a grant of $17,000. These artists included Bee Caves, Carson McHone, Dan Dyer, Nakia, Ray Prim, Suzanna Choffel, Swimming With Bears, The Peterson Brothers, Walker Lukens, and Wendy Colonna. Additionally, ten minor grant recipients each received a grant of $5,000. These artists included Brownout, Calliope Musicals, Dana Falconberry, Daniel Eyes & The Vibes, Golden Dawn Arkestra, Harvest Thieves, Leopold and His Fiction, Magna Carda, Sweet Spirit and The Name Sayers. Grant presentations were made throughout the evening by a number of Black Fret sponsors and members, as well as Austin Mayor Steve Adler, a passionate supporter of Austin music.

At the 2015 event, Black Fret gave out $150,000 in grants to local Austin musicians. Ten $12,000 major grants and ten $3,000 minor grants were distributed to 20 nominees over the evening, which included live performances from many nominees. Major grant winners included: Casey McPherson, Danny Malone, East Cameron Folkcore, Gina Chavez, Migrant Kids, Mother Falcon, Ruby Jane, Shakey Graves, Tameca Jones, and The Digital Wild. Minor grant winners included: Aaron Behrens, Dan Dyer, Holiday Mountain, Jazz Mills, Max Frost, Nakia, Not In The Face, Riders Against The Storm, Shinyribs, and The Nightowls. Shakey Graves donated his $12,000 grant back to the minor grant winners, boosting the minor grants to $4,200 each. Aaron Behrens donated his $4,200 grant to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM).

In its 2014 season, Black Fret awarded $130,000 in grants to local Austin musicians. Ten 2014 Black Fret Grant Winners each received $10,000 including Amy Cook, Elizabeth McQueen, Erin Ivey, Gina Chavez, Graham Wilkinson, Lincoln Durham, Mother Falcon, Quiet Company, The Rocketboys, and Wild Child. Other nominees including Danny Malone, Dawn and Hawkes, East Cameron Folkcore, Elias Haslanger, Emily Bell, Jitterbug Vipers, Jonny Gray, Little Radar, The Whiskey Sisters, and Zeale received smaller grants after the event.

Whiskey Shivers

Photo credit: Amy Price
Whiskey Shivers, 2017 Black Fret Grant Nominee

Black Fret receives ongoing support from generous sponsors such as the ALL ATX, Dell Inc., Deloitte Consulting, Ben Milam Whiskey, SunPower Inc., GSD&M, Ben E. Keith Distributors, Whole Foods, Personify, Gibson Brands, The City of Austin Economic Development Department – Music & Entertainment Division, KUTX, The Austin Chronicle, DeMaris Entertainment, Juice Consulting, Nomad Sound, Miscellaneous Rentals, the Paramount Theatre, Enterprising People, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, County Line BBQ, Shady Grove, Verts, Frank, Biggs Electric, Social Flash Media and many more.

Learn More: About Black Fret


To request interviews regarding the Black Fret Ball for pre-coverage, or to request working media credentials for the Dec. 9 event and/or red carpet coverage, please contact:

Heather Wagner Reed | Amber LaFrance
713 208 3891 | 469 877 1533 |

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