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England’s grassroots music industry can now apply for grants of up to £40,000 from the newly announced £5 million Supporting Grassroots Music Fund, managed by Arts Council England (ACE).

The culture secretary Lucy Frazer said grassroots music venues, recording studios, promoters and festivals are encouraged to apply for grants of up to £40,000 to develop new revenue streams, make repairs and improvements, and enhance the live music experience for gig-goers.

The grants of up to £40,000 are available until March 2025, and delivered through National Lottery Project Grants. Among the initiatives the Government expects the funding to be spent on is the production of live streamed content to diversify income and build new audiences.

ACE launched the original Supporting Grassroots Live Music Fund in 2019, and has since provided more than £9m of funding to over 450 projects. Beneficiaries have included Bath’s Komedia venue, which received £44,000 to help improve its sound and lighting equipment, while The Smokehouse in Ipswich received £15,000 to help them book a more diverse range of artists, and offer local artists opportunities to play alongside established names.

More information about the Supporting Grassroots Music Fund can be found on the Arts Council website.

ACE CEO Darren Henley said, “This investment by the UK Government and Arts Council England reaffirms our commitment to supporting this hugely important part of the music industry. People value the opportunity to develop and express their creativity, and the grassroots music sector excels at allowing communities to design and develop creative and cultural activity where they live.”

Welcoming the news, Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) CEO Michael Kill said the initiative is poised to have a significant impact on the landscape of grassroots music.

He said, “In a departure from convention, the fund explicitly embraces participation from the electronic music and club scene, acknowledging their crucial contributions to the cultural and artistic tapestry. This forward-thinking approach ensures that the fund remains relevant to the evolving landscape of music creation and performance.”

AIF CEO John Rostron also welcomed the move by DCMS and Arts Council England to create the fund: “It remains a challenging time for independent festivals. One in six festivals did not make it through the pandemic. A further 36 cancelled in 2023. High supply chain costs and a cost of living crisis continue to put pressure on independent festival operators. This support is very much welcomed by all of our AIF member festivals in England in order to advance their events.

“We want to thank DCMS and ACE for open and regular engagement with us about the independent festival sector. We look forward to supporting our members with applications and monitoring the success of this new scheme.”