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Black Fret Ball Shines in its 6th Year





Black Fret Ball Shines in its 6th Year

 

In its sixth year, Black Fret continues to hit high watermarks as an organization; the deluge of financial grants to Austin artists continues while an expansion into Seattle is also underway. Black Fret founders, Matt Ott and Colin Kendrick, are now seeing their nonprofit surpass over $1.5 million in payments to artists. The Black Fret Ball, the nonprofit gala where grants are awarded, took place this Saturday at ACL Live and, as usual, it was a vibrant display of Austin’s diverse social scene.

 

The gallimaufry of musician mentors, donors and grant recipients at the Black Fret Ball is almost as entertaining as the show itself. Austin musicians are interwoven between local philanthropists and industry titans, creating a unique and rare scene in Austin.  The show itself featured brief but ebullient performances from Go Fever, Cilantro Boombox, Ley Line, The Watters and a knee-buckling performance from Tje Austin.  

 

In an act of good faith, The Black Pumas, who were slated to receive a $20k grant, deferred their grant money in order to boost all $5k recipients to receive $7k instead.  The local funk/soul band has been on a tear playing sold-out shows and just recently was nominated for a Grammmy for ‘Best New Artist’. The beauty of Black Fret is that any of the newcomer recipients can easily be on the same trajectory to national recognition as the Pumas; examples like Shakey Graves, Sweet Spirit and Bright Light Social Hour have paved the way for upstarts to dream big.

 

Some of the grants elicited heart-warming reactions when given, most notably Sydney Wright and The Watters, who were emotive and appreciative upon receiving the grant. With over 15 performing artists, the Black Fret Ball is an exciting and eclectic sampling of all genres of Austin music. With Black Fret’s growth, there seems to be much more on the horizon for giving back to the Austin music scene and beyond.

 

-Lee Ackerley

Published: December 11, 2019 |

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