Fort Worth residents were treated to an array of performances at the first ever Amplify 817 showcase at the Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium on Aug. 17. 

The Fort Worth Public Library hosted the free event featuring four local musicians and bands: GR4NT, Bencjones, Averi Burk and Cut Throat Finches. The artists are streaming through the free Amplify 817 music streaming service. 

Amplify 817 launched on Feb. 14, 2020, through the Fort Worth Public Library to provide local artists with a platform for their music. Amplify 817 regularly features local musicians at Tulips Fort Worth once a month on Sunday nights, Manya Shorr, director of the Fort Worth Public Library, said.

“If you feel like standing up tonight, you’re more than welcome to,” GR4NT told the 375 guests in attendance as he opened up the show. “We usually don’t have seats at our shows.” 

Throughout the night, audience members stood up, head banged and grooved to the different genres of music. The musicians played from 7-9:30 p.m. 

“Some of our live shows have been at smaller venues, so to be able to play here in this huge venue, I’ve been psyched for it,” GR4NT said. 

The idea for an Amplify 817 showcase came from Councilmember Elizabeth Beck, who visited Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium last year and saw potential for a big event, Shorr said. 

“If we get a community of people who love music here, then we fulfilled our dreams,” Shorr said.

After their conversation, Shorr and her team got to work on planning the showcase. Musicians were paid through private funding provided by the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation

“We always wanted to feature artists around town,” Shorr told the Report. “We need this here, both to support our local musical entrepreneurs, but also to show that Fort Worth music is not just country music.” 

In addition to performances, the event featured onsite T-shirt printing from Printed Threads and artwork from local artists presented by Art Tooth.

“It’s always been important to me that the musicians are paid for every appearance, every show, everything we asked them to do,” Shorr said. “It was always intended to be about supporting them so that they could live as musicians and not have 10 to 12 jobs just to support their passion.”

During opening remarks, Beck announced the Amplify 817 showcase will become an annual event. 

David Moreno is a multimedia fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at david.moreno@fortworthreport.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Avatar photo

David Moreno

David Moreno is a multimedia summer fellow for Fort Worth Report. He is a recent graduate from the University of North Texas with degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. To contact him,...