Music is one of the beautiful art forms, and surrounds us in most of our everyday life. Austin has long been known as the “Music Capital of the World,” but the rising cost of living has made it more difficult for musicians to live and play in the city that we love.
Black Fret is a charitable organization that has co-opted the business model of symphonies and orchestras – that of patronage – to support musicians and the live music scene in Austin. Anyone can become a member. Annual dues are used to provide grants to local musicians – individual grants range between $5,000 and $20,000 per band. Since the organization’s inception in 2013, we have given away about $500,000 in grants. In addition to the money, grant nominees also receive mentorship from some of the biggest names in the music industry.
Membership in Black Fret has its benefits. For one, we feel blessed to be able to support local musicians in this way. After unlocking some of his grant money, one of our favorite artists commented while tearing up, “I’m used to getting paid to tend bar; and you guys just paid me to write lyrics.”
Another great benefit is getting exposed to musicians and types of music we would normally not see. As you might guess, we’re no longer the ‘stay out until 4am’ types. Instead, Black Fret listening sessions start at 7pm, with bands performing promptly at 8pm and 9pm, and we’re done by 10pm. That is, unless we have a surprise performance by a guest artist (something that happens quite frequently). People are attentive to the music at these sessions, and we get the best sound people in Austin to make sure that the acoustics are exceptional.
Let us know if you’re interested in learning more about Black Fret, or just visit their website.