Live music venues to share $800,000 in Government funding

Ian Bushnell 24 June 2021 1
Canberra band Tonk played their final gig at The Basement on 10 May

Canberra band Tonk played their final gig at The Basement to a 75 per cent capacity crowd on 10 April. Photo: Nick Brightman, NickB Photography.

A total of 23 live music and performance venues across Canberra will share in almost $800,000 in grants through the ACT Government’s Amp It Up! fund, with a number receiving more than $50,000.

The Amp It Up! fund was developed to assist small to medium-sized live venues to recover after the impacts of COVID-19, grow opportunities for local musicians and other performance artists to get back on stage and give Canberrans some great live entertainment options throughout 2021.

A range of popular local venues across the city were successful under the program, including Smith’s Alternative in the city, a stalwart of the sector and a champion for new and emerging artists, The Basement in Belconnen and Live at the Polo in Turner.

The Government said that due to the high level of interest, it boosted the amount of funding available to support as many venues as possible.

Minister for Business and Better Regulation Tara Cheyne said the program would distribute $790,747 to 23 live venues, supporting a range of gigs and performances from now to 30 November 2021.

“I’m ecstatic to be able to announce that 23 live entertainment venues across the ACT will share in nearly $800,000 to help support local gigs and get our night-time economy going again,” she said.

Amp It Up! was well-received by the local music industry, and I know venues worked extremely hard on their applications to develop a forward program of gigs that the Canberra and visiting audiences can get excited about.

“Live music and performance venues are an important part of Canberra’s night-time economy and the character of our city. I look forward to seeing a diverse program of music and other live performances around Canberra as part of this initiative.”


READ ALSO: RiotACT Gig Guide (23 – 29 June)


Venues were able to apply for a grant through the Amp It Up! fund to meet up to 100 per cent of their expected costs between 1 June 2021 and 30 November 2021 for engaging artists and technicians and up to 50 per cent of their marketing and promotion costs.

Music ACT Director Daniel Ballantyne said the funding threw a lifeline to the ACT’s musicians and crew.

“Thanks to ACT Government Amp it Up! funding our precious live music venues will help ignite our night-time economy,” he said.

“They will deliver fantastic new shows for hungry audiences, and most importantly Amp It Up! will provide much needed income for musicians and crew.”

He called on people to support the venues and enjoy a live show.

Recipient (or Venue) Amount
Ainslie + Gorman Arts Centres $35,436
Belconnen Bowls Club $15,730
Blackbird $57,023
Canberra Highland Society and Burns Club $26,161
Capital Brewing Company $37,448
Gang Gang Café and Bar $57,166
Harmonie German Club $28,008
Hippo Bar $23,476
King O’Malley’s $21,457
Live at the Polo $57,003
Molly Bar $28,775
Old Canberra Inn $26,041
Rose Cottage $16,138
Sideway $57,550
Smith’s Alternative $57,550
The Basement $57,550
The Boardwalk Bar and Nightclub $18,200
The Civic Pub $8,824
The Front $25,938
The RUC $14,153
The Street Theatre $40,261
Transit Bar $57,550
UC Live $23,308

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One Response to Live music venues to share $800,000 in Government funding
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mattwatts mattwatts 8:50 pm 25 Jun 21

The fact Transit is included demonstrates this is yet another botched scheme. Venues that are still operating have missed out, but when was the last time you saw a gig at Transit? Needs an audit.

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