Austin’s music nonprofit leaders discuss the important role our community plays in providing essential needs to our city’s musicians.

(AUSTIN, TEXAS – March 2016) – Official SXSW panel “Is Austin a Vortex for Musicians? – How an Impassioned Community Gives Back” has been announced for Friday, March 18 at Austin Convention Center located at 531 E 4th St., Austin, Texas 78701. The panel will be open to all official SXSW badge holders and will take place from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 10A.

The panel will include presentations from numerous Austin music nonprofit leaders including Heather Alden, Managing Director of the SIMS Foundation, Reenie Collins, Executive Director of Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), Matt Ott, Co-­ Founder of Black Fret, and Rev. Merrill Wade, Rector at St Matthew’s Episcopal Church and Founder of The Soul of a Musician Series. The panel will be moderated by Heather Wagner Reed, President and Founder of Juice Consulting.

The discussion will delve into the challenges Austin’s musicians face when it comes to receiving proper healthcare, maintaining spiritual and mental well being, and being provided the financial opportunity to excel in the music industry. For panel details, please see http://schedule.sxsw.com/2016/events/event_PP91582.

“If you live in Austin, you’re a member of the Austin music family,” said Heather Alden, Managing Director of the SIMS Foundation. “Our passionate community believes musicians and live music contribute greatly to the quality of life of everyone in our city, and musicians deserve our support to be healthy, creative and productive.”

“Austin is indeed a vortex (of creative spiritual power),” said Rev. Merrill Wade, Founder of Soul of a Musician Series. “Soul Series seeks to honor and encourage our musicians in a time that many are doubting that they stay in Austin during times of increased cost of living, or that people in Austin even understand the pressures they are facing as working musicians.”

“I am looking forward to delving into a topic that honors our local music industry’s uniqueness in the country,” said Heather Wagner Reed, Founder of Juice Consulting and Panel Moderator.

“Austin is indeed a vortex for musicians. The energy here is one of support, passion, resources and ingenuity. We look forward to sharing this story with our SXSW visitors and attendees from around the world.”

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. For more information, please see: www.blackfret.org.

About HAAM:

The mission of Health Alliance for Austin Musicians is to provide access to affordable health care for Austin’s low income, uninsured working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness. Austin is the “Live Music Capital of the World,” yet many professional working musicians are self-­employed and rarely have access to health insurance. Without insurance, they cannot afford preventive health care, including primary medical care, basic dental services and mental health counseling. For more information, please see: www.myhaam.org.

About SIMS:
SIMS provides access and financial support for mental health and addiction recovery services to Austin musicians, music industry professionals, and their family members. SIMS works with over 75 therapists, psychiatrists and addiction recovery professionals in the Austin area to provide low or no cost services to music professionals suffering from depression, anxiety, trauma, stage fright, relationship problems, addiction and other serious mental health issues. SIMS Foundation: We’re Listening. For more information, please see: www.simsfoundation.org.

About Soul of a Musician Series:

Four years ago, the Rev. Merrill Wade and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church launched the Soul of a Musician series as an outlet for Austin musicians to play music in a loving, receptive environment in order to explore the various emotional and spiritual dimensions of their sound. What began as a small-­scale concert series to provide a safe haven for Austin’s working musicians has ignited a movement to provide a much needed platform for musicians to express their spiritual needs and creativity through music and through open discussion. For more info please see: www.stmattsaustin.org


For media RSVPs to the panel or 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