Live Music Grants


The Live Music grants stream provides financial support for musicians to undertake professional development and to increase local venues' capacity to offer live music performances. The live music grants program aims to strengthen the Inner West as Sydney's live music destination. 

Key Dates

Council's Annual Grants Program will reopen mid-year 2020.

Funding Available

Funding for Live Music grants is available under two grant categories:

  • Musician Development Grants of up to $5,000 are offered to encourage the professional development of local musicians. The aim of the Musician Development Grants is to encourage local musicians of all genres (individuals and / or bands or music groups) to build resources to assist in successfully gaining performance opportunities. Examples include: professional sound recording of new work and associated launch events; and, promotion and publicity resources for musicians. Applications must be for specific projects for one–off funding.
  • Venue Capacity Building Grants of up to $20,000 are offered to increase local venues' capacity to offer live music performances. The aim of the Venue Capacity Building Grants is to enable local venues to become thriving community hubs, upgrade their facilities, expand their live music offering and attract new audiences. This includes both new and existing establishments hosting live music, including music venues and/ or music clubs. Examples are: capital works associated with noise attenuation; targeted venue compliance capital works; backline equipment for new or existing venues; and, venue live music program promotions. The grants are also suitable for cafes, bars or other businesses seeking to offer live music for the first time. Applications must be for specific projects for one–off funding.

To Apply

Council uses SmartyGrants administration software to manage its grants program. Applications must be submitted via the Inner West Council SmartyGrants webpage. Applications must meet the eligibility requirements and no late applications will be accepted. Hard copy applications are not accepted.

Past Recipients

A list of successful applicants and their projects for earlier rounds, can be found on the Successful Live Music grants page.


Download the Inner West Council Grants Program guidelines here: Inner West Grants Program Guidelines 2019 (PDF 928.9KB) 

Grant objectives

  • Facilitate industry development and the support that helps live music to grow, innovate and improve its competitiveness.
  • Provide professional development opportunities for musicians to increase promotion and performance opportunities.
  • Create opportunities for the community to participate in live music.
  • Build capacity in Inner West's live music venues.
  • Grow Inner West’s reputation as a leading creative and cultural hub that celebrates and supports diverse live music.
  • Position Inner West as a place of excellence for the live music industry.
  • Promote Inner West as a great place to live, work, visit and invest in.

Eligibility criteria


To be eligible for funding an applicant must:

  • Be an Australian resident or permanent resident aged over 18 years.
  • Be currently located or delivering services in the Inner West Council area or offer a project that benefits residents of the Inner West Council area.
  • Be a legally registered, incorporated not-for-profit organisation or group. Unincorporated groups must be auspiced by an incorporated not-for-profit organisation (note: varies for live music grants 2019).
  • Apply for a specific project, grants do not offer a permanent or ongoing source of funding.
  • Meet the grant stream eligibility criteria and address the grant stream objectives.
  • Demonstrate the project is in the public interest and in accordance with Council's Community Strategic Plan, policies and regulations.
  • Include a booking confirmation form for any standard or subsidised use of Council facilities (i.e. Council venues, parks and sportsgrounds) for your grant project, unless otherwise negotiated with the relevant Council grant officer.
  • Submit an interim progress report on any outstanding grant projects before a new grant application can be considered.
  • Only submit one application per grant stream.

Stream-specific eligibility – Musician development grants

  • Applicants applying as individual musician or bands/ groups must have a demonstrated history of professional arts practice.
  • If applicants are seeking to apply as a band or group and the band or group is not incorporated, one nominated musician in the band should apply on behalf of the band or group and receive funds to be distributed, or alternately the band can be auspiced by an appropriately incorporated organisation that has agreed to receive funds on behalf of the band.

Stream-specific eligibility – Venue capacity building grants

  • Applicants must be a new or existing live music venue in Inner West Council LGA with an ongoing commitment to a live music program.
  • Venues must be a not-for-profit; or, if a for-profit/ commercial organisation, the community benefit of the project must be demonstrated.
  • Consent from the property owner must be given for any capital works or Development Applications.
  • If not the property owner, copies of the property lease must be provided.
  • The applicant is responsible for ensuring all relevant permissions have been granted.
  • If a new Development Application (DA) is required for capital works for the project, initial advice on the project must be sought before applying for a grant. This should include either a relevant Council pre-DA meeting, a meeting with a Duty Planner or meeting with Council’s Live Music Planning Advisory Service.
  • If the venue ceases to exist or moves outside of the Inner West Council area within five years, any equipment purchased should be returned to Council.


Inner West Council does not provide grants for:

  • Projects that have already occurred (i.e. no retrospective funding) or to cover a shortfall in administrative costs.
  • Projects that duplicate existing services provided in the Inner West Council area.
  • Organisations that have not acquitted previous completed grant projects funded by Inner West Council or who have outstanding debts of any kind to Inner West Council.
  • Ongoing salary costs for project management, operational costs or applicant's wages.
  • Financial assistance for overseas travel.
  • General donations to charities. Council does accept applications for projects run by charities.
  • Activities that could be perceived as benefitting political parties or groups linked to a political party.
  • Projects that could be perceived as divisive within the community.
  • State or federal government departments (including schools, with the exception of Council's Open Inner West Grants 2019) or projects which fall under the responsibility of another tier of government. 

Assessment criteria

  • Impact and quality of the project that contributes to Council's Live Music Grant objectives
  • Contribute cultural benefits to communities in the Inner West Council area
  • Promote innovation in live music performance or development
  • Artistic merit of musician/band/group or venue live music programming
  • Applicant's capacity to deliver a well-planned project including applicant experience, skills and time
  • Realistic budget including all sources of project income with inclusion of relevant quotes 

Application Support

Council holds information sessions and one-on-one sessions to support potential applicants. Applicants are encouraged to attend one of these sessions and/or speak with a Council grant officer before applying.

Information sessions are designed to explain the grant stream funding priorities, how applications will be assessed and conditions for successful applicants. They are also an opportunity to network with other community groups and meet potential project partners.

One-on-one sessions provide grant applicants with tailored advice on their project and grant application. Receive feedback on your draft application and project ideas from Council’s grant officers and receive helpful tips on how to write your grant application.


For grant enquiries please contact Freya Ververis, Council's Arts Grants and Engagement Officer on 9392 5282 or email

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Page last updated: 16 Jan 2020