New concert series to amp up NWA’s music scene


NWA does not miss musical talent, but his musical talent would need some help getting national exposure. Music industry leaders say they are looking to change that.

What is happening: Black Fret, an Austin-based nonprofit, is working with the Bentonville nonprofit House of Songs to give more resources to local musicians and bring more touring musicians to the area for shows.

  • Black Fret is in the middle of a pilot program where it is holding 12 shows at various venues.
  • He received a $150,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation for the pilot and plans to return in the fall with regular gigs.

How it works: Black Fret will offer a series of concerts open to the public as well as members-only shows. Members pay $750 per year and can nominate and vote for groups they would like to see receive grants. Kendrick is also a board member of House of Songs.

  • Black Fret is focused on professional development and funding musicians by connecting them to venues and providing grants to help them record music and go on tour, said Colin Kendrick, Founder and CEO of Black Freight, in Axios.
  • House of Songs focuses on introducing musicians to each other and helping them improve creatively, Kendrick and Troy Campbell, founder and creative director of House of Songs, told Axios.

State of play: “Northwest Arkansas’ population is the same as Austin’s in 1985, and Austin had a stellar music scene in 1985, so Northwest Arkansas is big enough to have a mature music scene.” , Kendrick said.

Yes, but: NWA’s population is still relatively small compared to most major music destinations, and its population is more dispersed, making it difficult to fill concert venues on weeknights. The area is also somewhat geographically isolated, which makes it difficult for NWA musicians to tour, Kendrick said.

  • These are all challenges that Black Fret wants to take on.

What they say : The goal is to amplify the music community and get more people to see shows and fall in love with the music here, creating increased demand for additional music venues, Campbell said.

  • “We don’t see other organizations as competition. We see people who don’t care about music as competition,” he said.

And after: Two other public shows remain as part of the pilot – Pat Byrne and Beat Root Revival at 8 p.m. Saturday at Heartbreak House in Fayetteville and Western Youth with Arkansauce and Rachel Ammons at 6:30 p.m. May 14 on Railyard Live at Rogers.


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