Black Fret


Black Fret awarded $230,000 in grants to Austin musicians at the Fourth Annual Black Fret Ball on Dec. 9 to packed house at The Paramount Theatre

Austin nonprofit Black Fret has come a long way in just four short years, with $730,000 in grant giving to the local music scene. When combined with direct payments to artists for performances and a new, secondary grant program, the total financial impact reaches over $1 million. At the recent Black Fret Ball on Dec. 9, the nonprofit awarded a total of $230,000 to grant nominees. The show featured live performances by many nominees to a completely packed and enthusiastic house at The Paramount Theatre. Major grant recipients who each received $18,000 include The Bright Light Social Hour, Carolyn Wonderland, Eric Tessmer, Jackie Venson, Leopold and his Fiction, Mobley, Sarah Sharp, The Deer, Warren Hood and the Whiskey Shivers. Minor grant recipients who each received $5,555 include Akina Adderley, Cowboy Diplomacy, Croy and the Boys, Daniel Eyes, David Ramirez, Greyhounds, Jane Ellen Bryant, Kinky Machine and Los Coast. Black Pistol Fire, who was also nominated for a grant, chose to remove themselves from consideration and asked that Black Fret allocate funds they would have received to the minor grant recipients. The Black Fret Ball was presented by DELL. Additional sponsors included Deloitte, GSD&M, Ben E. Keith, New York Life, SunPower, Zoho, Whole Foods, Personify and Burkhart Dentistry. Media sponsors for the evening included KUT/KUTX, Austin Way, CultureMap, Austin Chronicle, Austin Monthly, Tribeza and For more info on Black Fret, please see

“We’re beyond thankful for this grant and beyond ecstatic for what Black Fret is doing for the future of Austin music and the music community at large,” said major grant winner Jack O’Brien of The Bright Light Social Hour. “Black Fret is not only a beacon of hope and help but of innovation and imagination. The Ball was a magical and unforgettable display of unity and support, and this grant will be going directly to the fulfillment of our dream of independently recording our flagship record.”

“As a musician you do a lot to organize your life around maintaining hope,” said major grant winner Mobley (aka Anthony Watkins). “When I initially heard about Black Fret, it sounded too good to be true and I refused to get my hopes up. But as I got to know the organizers and members better, it became clear that they really are all about helping musicians and I allowed myself to hope. I’m immensely grateful for the grant and especially for my hope being rewarded.”

“It’s clear that it is the people who love their city and its music that are really making the difference,” said Matt Ott, Black Fret co-founder. “Seeing our amazing artists, music industry mentors and Black Fret members come together to build this community of support, love and great music is a testament to the concept that by coming together we can support and nurture the music and musicians we love that helps make Austin such a great place to live. Every member that joins us helps us fulfill this dream and has a great time doing it, immersed in incredible music at amazing events while lending their voice by nominating their favorite Austin bands.”
2017 Black Fret Artists The Bright Light Social Hour receive a major grant from Black Fret co-founder Matt Ott and Texas State Representative Gina Hinohosa

“For Black Fret to have put over a million dollars into the pockets of Austin musicians in just four years is a huge accomplishment that is making a demonstrable difference not only in the lives of our city’s amazing musicians, but also the lives of our members,” said Colin Kendrick, Black Fret founder. “We see albums and songs being created and released that never would have been if not for our Black Fret grants. And we see hundreds of Black Fret members’ lives enhanced by being plugged into the music scene in really cool and intimate ways. This act of connecting and the community that has come of it is the promise and power of Black Fret made real.”

Black Fret has also announced details for its next major event, the Black Fret 2018 Season Kickoff, taking place on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at the Mohawklocated at 912 Red River St., Austin, Texas 78701. Doors are at 7 p.m. The event will feature some of Austin’s most exceptional musicians performing for Austin’s Patrons of Local Music – the Black Fret Members and their guests. To attend the event, you can join Black Fret by signing up to become a member here:

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 $730,000 to local Austin artists with more on the way in 2018. 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.

2017 Black Fret Artists The Deer and Whiskey Shivers perform together at the 2017 Black Fret Ball

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 “Frenchie” 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 a valued advisor. For more information, please see

This year, Black Fret announced the addition of 2014 Black Fret Artist and international business consultant Erin Ivey as its first Director of Member Experience. In this role, Ivey is responsible for ensuring that Black Fret members continue to enjoy the finest in Austin music experiences while enabling the creation and performance of new music by the city’s most exceptional local musicians. She brings the skills she has leveraged as a business and project management consultant for global Fortune 500 companies to strengthen the core membership operations of Black Fret and fuel its continued growth.

Black Fret receives ongoing support from generous sponsors such as the ALL ATX, Dell Inc., Deloitte Consulting, New York Life, 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.

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 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 enjoy a broad range of private events including monthly shows in intimate venues and an incredible annual awards show named The Black Fret Ball. Grant recipients are selected annually through a yearlong process where members, advisors 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 All memberships provide entry for the member and a guest to all upcoming 2017 Black Fret events, including the Black Fret Ball. For inquiries, please email and for more info see