FAQs – Live Music Venues Grant Program

For details on this grant program, including the GUIDELINES, please go to http://mdo.sa.gov.au/livemusicvenuesgrantprogram




Who can apply?

The Music Development Office (MDO) Live Music Venues Grant program is designed for South Australian venues who support South Australian professional artists in the presentation / performance of live music, including original and cover music. See the Guidelines for a complete list of eligibility criteria.


How much money can I apply for?  

You can apply for up to $25,000 for expenses incurred from South Australian artist fees and other creative personnel fees (ie. sound engineers and lighting technicians) who contribute directly to the presentation of live music. This live music must take place between 1 January and 30 June 2021. You will be required to submit a budget that demonstrates how much funding you require for this activity, and must only apply for what you need to cover these expenses in the period (up to $25,000).


Can I apply for other MDO grants at the same time?

As a South Australian venue that supports live music, you can apply for Live Music Venues Grant program, and for Stream B (Business Development) of the Project Support Grants program, as long as you are not applying for the same exact expenses in each application. Please note, while the Live Music Venues Grant Program supports both original and cover music, Project Support Grants only support original music. The two grant programs also have different eligible activity periods. All activity for the Live Music Venues Grant program must take place between 1 January – 30 June 2021, whereas the Project Support Grants can take place from 1 January – 31 December 2021.


How are applications assessed? 

It is important to note that while the Music Development Office manages this funding program, it does not determine the final outcomes. Applications are assessed by a panel of industry representatives with a local and national perspective. The panel prepares funding recommendations for the Minister for Innovation and Skills for approval.


How much funding is there in total?

The MDO Live Music Venues Grant program has a total budget of $500,000 in the 2020-21 financial year, delivered in one round in November 2020.


If successful, will I get all the money that I requested in my application?

You should only apply for the amount that you need, up to a maximum of $25,000. Your budget must justify the total request by itemising the eligible expenses and supplying notes to show how you calculated these figures. In competitive funding rounds, there are usually a greater number of worthy applications than the available funds can support. As such, the assessment panel of industry representatives may choose to offer partial funding to some applicants.


What if I can’t proceed with the live music activity unless I get full funding?

You may choose to explain this in your Budget Notes. Similarly, if you can proceed with part funding, you may choose to state this in your Budget Notes, specifying what modifications you would need to make to your live music program if it were not fully funded.

If your live music program is strongly dependent on other pending income sources (e.g. another grant in progress, unconfirmed sponsorship, crowdfunding campaign), you are strongly encouraged to explain this in your Budget Notes, along with your contingency plans if you are unsuccessful in securing these other sources.

Any notes to Budget regarding the above will not make your application more or less likely to be funded. All applications are assessed on their own merits according to the criteria.


How do I apply?

Applications will be found via a link on the MDO website’s Live Music Venues Grant program page. This link will open an online webform. You can enter information directly into the webform and in some cases, you will be able to upload documents.

Applications will be open from Wednesday 4th November, and the deadline has been extended to 11:59pm on Thursday 26th  November to give you more time to apply. Please note, the automated system will not accept late applications and you are encouraged to apply well in advance of the deadline.


Who do I contact if I have technical difficulties?

Contact the MDO for questions on any technical difficulties with the application: Emma Bargery, Business Support Officer email | Ph: 08 7320 3337    Support for questions, including technical difficulties, will only be available until 5pm on Thursday 26th November.


What do I need to submit?

You will need to submit a completed application via the web form on the Live Music Venues Grant program page. See the guidelines available on that  web page for a list of Essential Information for each application.

You will be required to answer multiple choice and open-ended questions, with specific requests to upload documents or link to your online presence. Please ensure that all web links in your application are active.


Can I link to material on my own Dropbox?

You will not be able to link to files/folders in Dropbox or other online storage systems. Any material submitted in this format will not be accessed or reviewed as part of your application. If these files/folders contain Essential Information as per the Guidelines, your application may become ineligible.


Does my live music program have to involve original material?

No, the MDO Live Music Venues Grant program supports venues who host live music activity that includes original and/or cover music.


Can I apply for my venue’s current live music program, or does it have to include new performances?

Any live music that your venue presents between 1 January 2021 – 30 June 2021 is eligible. It can be the continuation of existing series, new programming, or a combination of both. However, the MDO cannot retrospectively fund activity (ie. reimburse activity that has already occurred). If your venue is currently presenting a regular series of music (e.g. every Friday night in the front bar), and this series will continue into the new year, you can apply for expenses that you will incur between 1 January 2021 – 30 June 2021.


As a live music venue, can I purchase new PA equipment or support noise attenuation costs with the Live Music Venues Grant funding?

No. Eligible expenses for the Live Music Venues Grant program only include fees for creative personnel in the delivery of live music at your venue. For all other expenses associated with your live music program, you are encouraged to consider the MDO Project Support Grants program, in Stream B (Business Development). Project Support Grants also support live music expenses for equipment hire, venue hire, marketing, and booking agent fees.


Can I use Live Music Venues Grant funding to pay my staff?

Salaries already covered by the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper package are not eligible for this funding.  Eligible expenses for the Live Music Venues Grant program only include fees for creative personnel in the delivery of live music at your venue. For other relevant service fees in your live music program, e.g. door person, COVID Marshal, you are encouraged to consider the MDO Project Support Grants program, in Stream B (Business Development).


What if I already applied for the Federal Government’s Live Music Australia (LMA) grants to cover my live music program in January – June 2021? 

If you have applied for Commonwealth funding to cover the same expenses and both your LMA and MDO applications are successful, you must contact the MDO to seek a variation approval. A variation approval is a variation to use State Government funding for alternate eligible expense.


Do I have to submit my COVID-Safe Plan or COVID-Management Plan as part of the application?

It is your responsibility to be aware of, and comply with, current Government COVID-19 directions and restrictions that apply from time to time (Directions)and take necessary measures to ensure your project activity is not in breach of your legal obligations including, the Directions. If your application is successful, you may be required to report to the Music Development Office/Department for Innovation and Skills on your compliance with the relevant Directions during the funding period. Failure to comply will result in the grant being withdrawn or terminated immediately.


If successful, when will I get the funding?

The MDO Live Music Venues Grant program works by a reimbursement model. From January to June 2021, successful applicants will be paid the approved funding total in monthly instalments. Monthly payments will be based on actual costs incurred by the business (venue) for artist, sound and lighting technician fees during the previous month and subject to receipt of evidence that creative personnel have been paid by the venue.


When will I hear back about whether my grant is successful or not?

All applicants, successful and unsuccessful, will be notified by email prior to or on the eligible start date (1 January 2021). We cannot offer a specific notification date due to the amount of processing involved. If you have confirmation that your grant was successfully submitted, then please wait until you receive the second email with your outcome notification.


What if I have an MDO grant already but that project can’t proceed as planned now?

You can apply to the MDO for an extension or variation, please contact Elizabeth Reid, Program Manager: email  | Ph 08 7320 3337  You should not begin any alteration to your grant in terms of activity or use of funding until you have liaised with the MDO.


Can I apply for this new MDO grant round if I already have a funded project that’s still in progress from a previous MDO grant round?

Yes. However, if your existing project will still be active after 1 January 2021 and incur expenses from that date, you cannot apply for the same expenses that the project already received funding for in an earlier round.


Do I have to make a financial contribution (e.g. matched funding) to the proposed budget? 

No, you are not obligated to do so. You are encouraged to consider additional funding sources for your live music program, whether it’s a cash contribution, other grant, sponsorship/partnership, or in-kind goods and services.


Do I have to have an ABN to apply?

Yes. Your venue should have an ABN registered in South Australia.


On the application form, what does Auspicing mean?

In this context, Auspicing is when you require an organisation to handle the financial management of the grant on your behalf if you are successful in receiving funding.


Can my music program include classical and jazz?

Yes, any genre is welcome in the MDO Live Music Venues Grant program.


Does the live music program have to be South Australian music exclusively?

Eligible artist fees in the MDO Live Music Venues Grant program are for South Australian artists only. If your live music program includes artists from interstate or overseas, these fees are not eligible for reimbursement in this grant program. You may apply in the MDO Project Support Grants program (Stream B: Business Development) to cover non-SA artist fees. However, the MDO Project Support Grants program requires all music to be original (no covers). If the majority of your live music program will not include South Australian artists, you can still apply to the MDO Live Music Venues Grant program to cover other creative personnel fees. You should also be able to make a strong case as to how the live music program supports your business model and contributes to the broader South Australian music ecosystem.


Can I get feedback on why my application has not been funded?

Due to the anticipated high volume of applications, feedback will not be available for applicants unless there was a significant issue (e.g. missing mandatory information, or failure to meet eligibility requirements). In competitive rounds, there is generally not enough funding to meet demand. As such, strong and competitive applications may still miss out.


Can I get feedback while I’m writing my application?

You are welcome to contact the Grant Program Manager with questions on the grant program terms & conditions, eligibility, criteria, or assessment process. Due to the amount of applications expected in a competitive round, staff will be unable to read drafts of applications or take multiple meetings or enquiries from the same applicant. You are encouraged to ask questions well in advance of the closing date, and should expect delays In the week prior to the closing date as staff work to service a high volume of enquiries. Contact Elizabeth Reid, Program Manager:  email  | Ph 08 7320 3337


Are there out of round grant opportunities?

There are no out of round opportunities in the MDO Live Music Venues Grant program. All funding for 2020-2021 will be allocated in the November round.


What is considered a strong or competitive application?

Applications to the MDO Live Music Venues Grant program are assessed by a panel of industry representatives who review each application according to the program criteria outlined in the Guidelines. In competitive funding rounds there are usually a greater number of worthy applications than the available funds can support, and thus strong applications may still be unsuccessful.


Can I use this funding for living expenses e.g. rent, loss of income?

No. The MDO has repurposed our current grant programs to complement existing funding available through Commonwealth and State Governments and ensure the South Australian music industry can continue to develop, create and connect during this time and moving forward. For support in loss of income, rent assistance and any other living expenses we encourage you to review information on the Commonwealth Government’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic: treasury.gov.au/coronavirus. There is also support available through the South Australian state government at business.sa.gov.au and Centrelink.  Our colleagues at Music SA have collated a list of current resources which include grants and other music industry funding you may find useful.