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Third Annual Black Ball Announced for Saturday, December 10 at the Paramount

The Black Ball has quickly become one of the biggest nights for the Austin music industry and this year will be no exception as the nonprofit makes its way to awarding half a million dollars in only three years to Austin’s musicians.

(AUSTIN, TEXAS – August 2016) – Austin nonprofit Black Fret is beyond proud of where they have come. In just a few short years, the organization has raised a tremendous amount of needed funding to support the local Austin music scene. The organization is thrilled to announce the third annual Black Ball gala at The Paramount Theatre taking place on Saturday, Dec. 10, where its 2016 grant recipients will be announced. The event will start at 6 p.m. and will feature performances by many 2016 Black Fret Nominees. This year’s Black Ball will be sponsored by Dell Inc., Deloitte Consulting and SunPower Inc.

Anyone wishing to attend the Black Ball may become a member of Black Fret by signing up at www.blackfret.org/join. All Black Fret memberships provide entry for the member and a guest to all upcoming Black Fret events including this year’s Black Ball.

For a recent promotional video about the organization, see https://vimeo.com/164939917. For more info on Black Fret, go to www.blackfret.org.

“It’s been great to see Black Fret evolve over the last several years to become an integral part of the music ecosystem here in Austin,” said Don Pitts, Music Manager for the City of Austin. “They identified a crucial need for our committed artists by providing the necessary resources as well as introducing them to new audiences.”

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 over $280,000 in grant dollars to local Austin artists. These grants were used to create and perform music and provide community service including 119 new songs written, 104 recorded, 46 new songs and videos released, 195 US performances, 23 international performances and 44 community service performances to date.

Also in 2016, $4,200 in grants were donated to HAAM by Black Fret Nominee Aaron Behrens. “In a very short period of time Black Fret has proven that a small group of dedicated music fans and professionals can make a material difference in the lives of our artists,” said Colin Kendrick, Black Fret Founder.

The 2016 Grant Nominees include: Bee Caves, Brownout, Calliope Musicals, Carson McHone, Dan Dyer, Dana Falconberry & Medicine Bow, Daniel Eyes & The Vibes, Devin James Fry & the Name Sayers, Golden Dawn Arkestra, Harvest Thieves, Leopold and His Fiction, Magna Carda, Nakia, Peterson Brothers Band, Ray Prim Music, Suzanna Choffel, Sweet Spirit, Swimming With Bears, Walker Lukens Music and Wendy Colonna.

“The community of musicians, Black Fret patrons, advisory board members and music fans we are creating is crafting some incredible stories and great success,” said Matt Ott, Black Fret Cofounder. “Our Black Fret artists are being signed by labels, embarking on nationwide tours and are creating and performing incredible music.”

For example, in December of last year at Black Fret’s annual Black Ball, Danny Malone and his band were awarded a major grant. The band also performed that night, and gave Matt Noveskey, Owner of Orb Studios, Black Fret Advisor and member of the band Blue October, an opportunity to hear their music for the first time.

“So impressed with their sound, Matt immediately wanted to get them into his studio,” said Eric Panico, Black Fret member and friend of the band. “From there, the relationship continued to develop eventually leading to Blue October asking Danny’s band to join them on their Summer US tour. Since May 4, Danny and his band have been on the road hitting a total of 38 cities from New York to Florida, Los Angeles to Seattle and everywhere in between covering over 12,000 miles.

Because of Black Fret’s grant, the band’s expenses were easier to get covered and made this tour possible. Black Fret truly made this happen!”

For a video of Danny on the tour, please click here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hMZdifJkP_w

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. 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 http://www.blackfret.org/advisors/.

At last year’s 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). The event featured performances by many 2015 Black Fret Nominees.

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 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. Black Fret receives ongoing support from generous sponsors such as the Dell Inc., Deloitte Consulting, SunPower Inc., Gibson Brands, The City of Austin Economic Development Department, Music & Entertainment Division, GSD&M, DeMaris Entertainment, Juice Consulting, Nomad Sound, Miscellaneous Rentals, Gig Town, Wholefoods, 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.

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 will be
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 an incredible annual gala event named The Black 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 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.

Media Note:
For press inquiries, coverage requests or to RSVP for the Black Ball or a future Black Fret event, please contact the team at Juice Consulting:

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