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Black Fret Announces 2016 Season Launch, January 29 at The Parish

With performances by Sweet Spirit, Walker Lukens and Harvest Thieves.

(AUSTIN, TEXAS – January 2016) – Austin nonprofit Black Fret is excited to announce its 2016 Season Launch to be held on Friday, Jan. 29 featuring Sweet Spirit, Walker Lukens and Harvest Thieves. The show will take place at The Parish located at 214 E 6th St., Austin, Texas 78701. Doors are at 7 p.m. and music starts at 8 p.m. The event, Black Fret’s first of three in its 2016 Nomination Season, is sponsored by Ben E. Keith. Those who wish to attend the launch party 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 2016 Black Fret events, including the annual Black Ball. For inquiries, please email sustain@blackfret.org and for more info see www.blackfret.org.

“We are excited to launch our third year of celebrating the most amazing music in Austin,” said Colin Kendrick, Black Fret Founder. “It is inspiring to see Austin music lovers step up to support our local music in such a meaningful way and we know 2016 will be the best year yet.”

“Ben E. Keith is honored to contribute in anyway to an organization that does so much to support the cultural and social fabric of the Austin community,” said Kevin Nettleton, General Manager of Ben E. Keith. “The Black Fret vision is truly inspiring. We look forward to an exciting year.”

To date, Black Fret has awarded $280,000 in grants to Austin musicians and the organization hopes to grow its grant-giving program exponentially in 2016. Founded in January of 2013, Black Fret is a 501(c)3 public charity headquartered in Austin, Texas and 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.

“To have awarded $280,000 to local musicians in only our first two years of giving demonstrates that a relatively small group of people can have a huge impact,” said Matt Ott, Black Fret Co-founder. “We ask every Austinite to join us in supporting our local music. With each new Black Fret member we take another big step forward to realizing our mission of helping our finest local musicians create and perform their amazing music.”

This past December, Black Fret hosted its second annual Black Ball gala at The Paramount Theatre and 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. 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).

The event featured performances by many 2015 Black Fret Nominees including Casey McPherson, Dan Dyer, Danny Malone, East Cameron Folkcore, Jazz Mills, Migrant Kids, Mother Falcon, Nakia, Not in the Face, Riders Against the Storm, Ruby Jane, Tameca Jones and The Digital Wild.

The annual process now starts over as Black Fret begins its 2016 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 2016. In March, Black Fret will announce the short list of 2016 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.

In Black Fret’s 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 and Church on Monday, Emily Bell, Jitterbug Vipers, Jonny Gray, Little Radar, The Whiskey Sisters and Zeale received smaller grants after the event. This inaugural class of Black Fret grant recipients unlocked their grant dollars in 2015 by writing, recording and performing new music and by providing community services to other area nonprofits.

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 including 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.

About Black Fret:

Founded in 2013, 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. Annual Black Fret member dues are $1,500, breaking down to about $100 a month after taxes. Many members have access to a corporate charitable giving match program (such as offered by Dell, Apple and other major employers) that can reduce the monthly cost to less than $50 a month.

In return for annual dues, members are 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 homes as well as the annual gala event named “The Black Ball”. Grant recipients are selected annually through a yearlong process where members, advisers and prior grant recipients nominate, lobby for, see performances by and finally vote on their favorite artists. Those who wish to become a member of Black Fret can sign up at www.blackfret.org/join. All memberships provide entry for the member and a guest to all upcoming 2016 Black Fret events, including the Black Ball. For inquiries, please email sustain@blackfret.org and for more info see www.blackfret.org.

Black Fret receives ongoing support from generous sponsors such as the Gibson Brands Showroom, The City of Austin Economic Development Department, Music & Entertainment Division, GSD&M, DeMaris Entertainment, Juice Consulting, Nomad Sound, Miscellaneous Rentals, KUTX, Austin Monthly, The Austin Chronicle, LoneStarMusic Magazine, Biggs Electric, Enterprising People, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Bone Spirits, Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company (ABGB), Jameson’s, Ben E. Keith Distributors, County Line BBQ, Shady Grove and Frank.

Media Note:

To RSVP to the 2016 launch party and member recruitment event, or for general press inquiries, please contact the team at Juice Consulting:

Heather Wagner Reed                                              Amber LaFrance
713 208 3891                                                               469 877 1533
heather@juiceconsulting.com                                 amber@juiceconsulting.com