(AUSTIN, TEXAS – December 7, 2021) – Black Fret is extremely happy to announce the online presentation of the 2021 Black Fret Ball on YouTube, Saturday, December 11th at 7PM Central time. The eighth annual Black Fret Ball was held Saturday, December 4th at ACL Live in Austin, Texas. Twenty bands performed from the stage at ACL Live as they were awarded $252,000 in grants from Black Fret Members. This first-ever online experience is brought to you exclusively by Dell Enterprises. Those who wish to experience the Black Fret Ball may do so on the Black Fret YouTube channel.

“Dell Enterprises was born in Austin, Texas, just like Black Fret. They power ACL Live at the Moody Theater and now they are bringing this singular experience to the entire world,” said Matt Ott, Co-founder of Black Fret and Executive Director of the Austin Black Fret chapter. “Dell has supported Black Fret for many years and local music for decades and we are thankful and proud to continue to support this art with them. Thank you, Dell Enterprises!”

The eighth annual Black Fret Ball featured performances from 2021 Black Fret Artists American Dreamer, BLK Odyssy, Clarence James, Darkbird, Deezie Brown, Eimaral Sol, Guy Forsyth & Jeska, Harry Edohoukwa, Jake Lloyd, James Robinson, Jon Muq, Lisa Morales, Motenko, Nané, Pat Byrne, PR Newman, Primo the Alien, The Reverent Few, and Zach Person as well as a performance from 2020 Black Fret Artists Henry Invisible and members of Moving Panoramas in a tribute to the 2020 Black Fret Artists who were largely unable to experience the live aspects of being a Black Fret Artist and grant recipient.

“To see twenty acts perform on one huge stage at ACL live and have them all do so in less than four hours is an incredible experience,” said Ott. “To be able to award a total of $252,000 to all twenty bands as we emerge from this pandemic was beautiful icing on the cake. This event is proof that Austin loves its local music and intends to support it in a meaningful way.”

Each year, Black Fret Members pay dues that fuel the organization’s events and grants. While the organization took a big hit during the COVID pandemic, losing more than 50% of their members, membership rebounded enough to create a grant pool of $222,000, funded exclusively through membership.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka stepped up yet again as a sponsor of the organization, contributing funds to make sure the depth, breadth and diversity of the music of Austin, Texas was fully recognized. Select Black Fret Members stepped up to match this grant, resulting in a total grant pool of $252,000 for distribution.

2021 Black Fret Artists American Dreamer, BLK Odyssy, Clarence James, Deezie Brown, Eimaral Sol, Guy Forsyth & Jeska, Harry Edohoukwa, Jake Lloyd, James Robinson, Jon Muq, Jonathan Terrell, Lisa Morales, Motenko, PR Newman, Primo the Alien, The Reverent Few, and Zach Person received grants of $12,000 each. Darkbird, Nané andPat Byrne each received the first ever “Member’s Choice” awards and received an additional $4,000 each (a total of $16,000 per act) for being the top three vote recipients of the Black Fret Member vote allocation process.

“That we were able to give every 2021 Black Fret artist at least $12,000 dollars is a meaningful moment in our history,” said Colin Kendrick, Black Fret Founder. “Making music and making sure the world hears it is an expensive challenge. We are so pleased that our members, sponsors and donors made it possible to give these artists some real fuel to make sure they reach their goals.”

This eighth annual Black Fret Ball brings the cumulative total of direct financial support to local musicians to over $2,575,000. This means over 85% of Black Fret member dues have been distributed directly to musicians since their first event in 2013. Combined with the support to local music businesses of $1,500,000, the total impact of Black Fret to the Austin music ecosystem equals over $4,000,000 in only eight seasons. With the nascent Black Fret Seattle chapter on the cusp of crossing the $100,000 mark in grants and the Colorado chapter launching now, Black Fret is just beginning to realize its vision of a network of connected communities that will not only support our local musicians in market, but also create an opportunity for these artists to bring their music to other markets in a sustainable and profitable way.

Those interested in assisting with this vision of a national network of Black Fret chapters may reach out to Black Fret Co-founder Matt Ott at matt@sonicguild.org.

Those who wish to join Black Fret in any of our chapters may do so at sonicguild.org/join. With three membership levels of $750 for an individual membership, $1,500 for two or $3,000 for our “party”, four-person membership there are options available for all who truly want to step up to support their local music. Members gain the rights to nominate the bands they love as well as vote for the allocation of grant dollars at the end of the season as well as the priviledge to attend the many private events held each season. The Black Fret Austin chapter held over 40 private events in 2021 as they emerged from the COVID pandemic, culminating in the Black Fret Ball at ACL Live.

Those not ready to join Black Fret or those who wish to support the Black Fret mission before a chapter exists in their town may donate at sonicguild.org/donate.

The Black Fret Ball will be available to all to view on YouTube on December 11, 2021 at 7PM Central Time.


Founded in 2013, Black Fret is a public charity headquartered in Austin whose mission is to empower musicians to create and perform new music. The organization is an innovative evolution of the age-old symphony patronage model that is focused on supporting popular local music. Together, Black Fret’s limited membership has supported musicians with over $2.5 million in grants and direct payments since 2013. In return for annual dues, members enjoy a broad range of private events in a multitude of venues and an incredible annual awards show named the Black Fret Ball. Grant recipients are selected annually through a yearlong process where members, advisors and prior grant recipients nominate, lobby for, see performances by and finally vote on their favorite artists. Those who wish to become a member of Black Fret can sign up at www.sonicguild.org/join. For inquiries, please email sustain@sonicguild.org and for more info see www.sonicguild.org.