Sixteen bands performed on the iconic Paramount Theatre stage Saturday night, as Austin nonprofit Black Fret awarded $230,000 in grants to 19 local bands at its annual Black Ball. For all the gowns and tuxedos in the audience, the atmosphere was informal and upbeat. Excited whoops and friendly heckling were directed towards the stage, and the few technical delays were shrugged off with a sense of humor.
We were there to celebrate. The first award winner of the night, Jackie Venson, told attendees she wasn’t going anywhere because of Austin’s vibrant support system for musicians. “There’s no HAAM in New York. There’s no SIMS [Foundation] in Chicago.”
With a fair amount of negativity directed towards Austin’s growth and subsequent affordability issues, one might assume the ecosystem for musicians is in decline. While we have work to do as a city, Black Ball showcased a vibrant community of musicians being propelled toward success through Black Fret grants. [Read more…]