One year ago, I was introduced to a new non-profit with a bold goal: award at least fifty $25,000 grants to Austin musicians every year (if it’s too early for math, that adds up to more than one million dollars). Like most Austinites, the founders of Black Fret love our local music scene and want to see it thrive. But these folks are seeking to make a tangible difference, beyond just talk.
Through 2013, Black Fret has been recruiting members and asking them to make an annual donation of $1,500 to the organization. In return, members have been invited to some of the best house parties I’ve ever been to, featuring backyard performances and acoustic sets by some of the most talented musicians in Austin like Kalu James, Erin Ivey, The Rocketboys and Little Radar.
Now, Black Fret is about to hit a milestone. Closing in on 100 members, this meaningful non-profit is poised to give away ten $10,000 grants in 2014. In hopes of signing up the members necessary to reach their goal, Black Fret is hosting their VIP Launch Party and Founding Member Drive from 6-10 PM on January 18th, at the Gibson Brands Showroom. Guests will enjoy live performances from Ben Kweller and Emily Bell, and networking with fellow Austinites who are dedicated to the growth of live music in Austin.
When I asked Black Fret founders Colin Kendrick and Matt Ott how local musicians have responded to Black Fret, their reply encapsulated why the organization exists. “Even before launching the organization, we met with well over 100 local musicians to get feedback on the concept. Their support has been amazing, largely because their need is so real. And their input helped shape our mission. All of these incredibly talented artists, artists who have devoted their life to producing stunningly beautiful songs, are struggling to make a living as a musician. Black Fret has a big vision to help these folks keep making the art for which Austin is best known.”
Tommy Blank, guitarist and keyboardist for Quiet Company, echoes Black Fret’s value to local musicians: “It’s becoming more and more expensive for a band to launch a career. Black Fret’s grants will help keep Austin the Live Music Capital of the World. Black Fret represents an incredible opportunity for live music fans to come together and truly support Austin’s musicians.”
For many of us, we feel like we’re supporting local musicians when we buy a CD or a ticket to attend a show. And to some extent, of course we are. But for many local musicians, CD and ticket sales aren’t enough to provide for basic living costs. That’s where Black Fret’s grants come in.
The January 18th event is free to members. If you’re not a member, but you’re interested in meeting the Black Fret family and learning more, limited tickets are available for $200/couple.
The live entertainment and networking opportunities alone are worth the cost of admission. But when you account for the bald fact that your attendance will support an incredible local non-profit, showing up becomes a no-brainer! Purchase your tickets with an email to email@example.com.
What do you think of Black Fret and its mission?