by Craig Hlavaty
The Texas Music Office, a division of the Office of the Governor, announced Friday the creation of the Live Music Grant Program, funding free concerts across the state. But don't get all excited yet. This is the Texas guv'ment we are dealing with, after all, so there are a few catches.
This is all made possible by a settlement from the Compact Disc Minimum Advertised Price Antitrust litigation, and no, taxpayers will not have to pay for a cent of it. Years of paying too much for compact discs from 1995 to late 2000 is now helping benefit live music in Texas.
Texans have essentially already paid for these new shows by buying music.
In order to get this scratch, those applying for grants should partner with a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization or a city or county government entity that will pay the upfront costs for the rental of the venue or cost of booking the performers.
Once your grant is approved, the nonprofit or the city will get reimbursed by the state. Don't worry, everyone is calling themselves a charity now, so it can't be too hard.
But here is that catch...
Sadly, there is only $173,000 in the fund, and the max you can get with a grant is a measly $1,500, which in terms of booking an act doesn't go very far. Maybe you can snag a local act who is feeling charitable, or at least pay for their backstage booze.
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This program may only work for smaller classical or repertory concerts, which have less overhead and fewer addictions. Once this chunk of change is gone, it's gone forever.
You can apply for a live music grant here if you get off on filling out forms. For some, it seems to be a sexual fetish.
If I were Governor Perry, I would enlist ZZ Top for a free concert tour across the state of Texas so that no child will graduate high school without hearing "Got Me Under Pressure" at least once live. He's a fan of the Top, so why not? Use this $173,000 to pay for the band's beard shampoo and liquor. It should run out within a few days anyway.
And yes, make the state of Texas pay for the rest of this tour. And make their discography a part of the Texas History curriculum.