MUSIC NONPROFIT CHALLENGES COLORADO MUSIC SUPPORTERS TO A $25,000 MATCH AND DESIGNATES ANOTHER $25,000 FOR AWARDS
Nonprofit has distributed over $2.5 million to Austin musicians since 2013 and over $155,000 to Seattle musicians since 2020.
Black Fret is set to officially launch its third chapter, Colorado, in the Spring of 2022 and starts off with a fundraising campaign to have patrons of the live music, donors and sponsors match an initial investment of $25,000 in order to raise $50,000 for the chapter’s startup. Black Fret will additionally fund the first awards granted to local artists with $25,000 being distributed in 2022. Nominations will begin this month and awards are set to be given to 5 bands this summer after a series of events that provide opportunities for Black Fret Patrons to consider all nominated bands.
Black Fret’s mission is simple: to support the creation and performance of music.
Black Fret is a 501(c)3 public charity founded in Austin, Texas in 2013. Since its inception, Black Fret has distributed over $2.5M in artist awards and performance fees to the musicians of Austin and Seattle. Another $1.5M has been distributed to local music businesses. Black Fret accomplishes this through a patronage model that allows members access to intimate performances and experiences with independent artists throughout Colorado. Annual member dues are pooled to create significant grants celebrating and empowering Colorado’s finest musicians.
“Making a living as a musician may be especially difficult in these times of record label consolidation, sales collapse, and streaming services… (Black Fret is) trying to change that by bringing a symphony-style patronage model to local popular music.” Forbes Magazine
Support for Black Fret has included Seattle’s local heroes from Pearl Jam and other internationally recognized artists.
“Keep doing what you’re doing and thank you so much for doing it!” – Stone Gossard, Pearl Jam
“I love when new/emerging artists are supported! I fully support this!” – Mike McCready, Pearl Jam
Colorado is Black Fret’s third chapter as they transition to a national model. It’s the first chapter to support artists statewide, with a focus on the Front Range. Black Fret provides members with a series of unique music experiences where they can witness the best and brightest of emerging local music. Members also participate in a year-long awards process to nominate and vote to determine the allocation of award dollars in conjunction with a music industry advisory board. The first season’s artist awards will be awarded in summer of 2022.
“As a longtime member of the Seattle music community, I was drawn to Black Fret’s model and the impact it could have to support our region’s musicians,” said Black Fret Seattle Executive Director Ben London. “I understand the challenges our musicians face trying to work and live in a rapidly changing city. Without some additional support, one of our most valuable cultural assets may evaporate before our eyes.”
Dani Grant, the Colorado chapter’s Launch Director shared, “Having been a perpetual local music advocate, indie venue owner and having run SpokesBUZZ, an artist incubator and economic development generator for CO, I was drawn to the simple and incredible power of the Black Fret model. I know that CO is the natural fit for the next chapter with our extensive talent pool and I want to provide Colorado’s up and coming artists these career changing awards.
Black Fret was founded by Colin Kendrick and Matt Ott, who saw the cultural value of and risk to Austin’s internationally recognized live music scene. “We created Black Fret as music fans. We love the music our city produces and wanted to find a way to support talented, hardworking local musicians while exposing them to new audiences,” said Colin. “Colorado’s music scene is legendary and has been an inspiration to Austin.”
Colorado was picked as the third Black Fret chapter after the founders conducted much research on music industry trends. The latest Pollstar numbers show that Denver alone was 3rd in terms of live music sales per capita, just trailing Las Vegas and Nashville. Colorado has an abundance of diverse genres, live and independent music venues, and the citizens of Colorado go out regularly to support their local artist. According to the 2020 Colorado Creative Economy Report, Colorado creative industries produced $31.6 billion in sales for goods and services in 2019, representing 4% of all goods and services in the state.
CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS
- Mar 22, 2022Shaina Shepherd and Old Man Saxon at Your Moms House in Denver
- April 29, 2022 Bevin Luna and more at The Launching Pad in Fort Collins
- For an invitation email: ColoradoMember@blackfret.org
HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER
Artists eligible for artistic awards are bands or individual musicians that (1) have at least 50% of band members claiming their primary residence on their personal tax returns as being within Colorado, (2) would qualify as a Small Business according to the US Small Business Administration standards for Musical Groups and Artists, and (3) are not immediate family members of the Black Fret Board of Directors.
Colorado bands and performers can inform Black Fret of their music by completing the form at blackfret.org/listenup. No submission fee is ever charged to nor are fees collected from musicians. As mentioned previously, artists are not able to apply for a Black Fret artistic award but are selected by both Black Fret members who pay their annual dues and other constituents such as the Black Fret Colorado Advisory Board and, in future years, musical acts who have received Black Fret artistic awards.
Inaugural major launch sponsors include: KJAC – The Colorado Sound, The Mishawaka Initiative, Meow Wolf, WeldWerks Brewing Co & Tito’s Handmade Vodka
ABOUT BLACK FRET:
Founded in 2013, Black Fret is a 501(c)3 public charity headquartered whose mission is to empower local 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. Black Fret members pay annual dues of $750 a year with a monthly installment option available. Membership is 80% tax deductible and eligible for employee charitable matching programs. In return for annual
dues, members will be rewarded with performances by some of the city’s top artists through a broad range of private events including monthly shows in intimate venues and an annual gala event named the Black Fret Ball. Those who wish to become a member of Black Fret Colorado can sign up at blackfret.org/colorado.
ABOUT DANI GRANT, Black Fret Colorado Chapter Launch Director
Dani Grant is one of those tenaciously hard-working, creative entrepreneurs who has transformed a deep passion for music into her life’s work. Dani owns and manages the legendary and historic Mishawaka Amphitheatre and three other progressive music venues along the Front Range of CO that host Live on The Lanes, providing live music, arcade and bowling experiences.
To complement her roles as venue owner and local arts and culture champion, Dani also has served on many boards including WESTAF Denver Music Task Force and Sustainable Living Association, Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation (CSU Media), The Colorado Sound – KJAC and Community Radio of Northern CO – KUNC. She currently sits on the board of directors as Treasurer for the Washington DC based Music Policy Forum and consults as the Launch Director for the Austin based organization Black Fret as they open their third chapter in Colorado.