Music for Victoria Fund to promote and support live music across the state

The Music for Victoria Fund has been established to provide live music venues across Victoria with the financial means to book bands and artists in order to reinvigorate the once vibrant live music scene.

Melbourne business leaders who have recognised the plight of the live music ecosystem in Victoria have donated $500,000 to the Fund so far. This seed funding will allow for $2,000 grants to be given to venues, who will in turn pay performers, creating hundreds of gigs across the state.

The aim is to continue to raise even more money for the sector’s recovery, and bring bands and live music fans back together. The Music for Victoria Fund will help venues and musicians across the state as they bring back the joy of live music to thousands of Victorians.

The Victorian live music scene was completely decimated overnight by COVID-19 and is still one of the worst affected industry sectors. 700 Victorian live music venues went silent with 100,000 gigs cancelled during 2020 and $1.42 billion of economic gain to Victoria lost.

As of 17 February 2021, figures released by music rights organisation APRA AMCOS reveal that live music alone is operating under 4% of pre-COVID-19 levels as a result of the waves of lockdowns, state border closures and audience limitations.

The Music for Victoria Fund responds to two simple questions: How do we provide great experiences for Victorians to re-engage with? How can we provide work for the many artists and support crew who have been so heavily impacted by COVID-19 restrictions?

Venues can apply to the open call, non-competitive Music for Victoria Fund to support up to three different performances on different dates. The maximum total amount that the Fund will distribute to one venue is $6,000. A venue can include a café, bar, pub, record-shop, gallery, music theatre or multi-disciplinary arts venue that has the space and equipment to host live music. For the full selection criteria please refer to the Music for Victoria Fund website.

The Fund will accept applications from 5 March 2021 and close on 30 June 2021, or until all funds are exhausted. Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified of the outcome.

Administered collaboratively by Arts Centre Melbourne, in association with James Morrison AM, John Foreman’s Aussie Pops Orchestra and Jane Gazzo, the Fund is a timely and significant boost to sector recovery and a way to remind Victorians of the magic of live music.

Quote attributable to Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Claire Spencer AM

The Music for Victoria Fund is a perfect and timely philanthropic partnership project and a natural initiative for us to support, continuing our commitment to providing work for artists, activating venues across our state and reconnecting audiences with live performance. Supporting sector recovery has been a major focus of Arts Centre Melbourne during closure and the grants made available through the Music for Victoria Fund will give artists and venues the chance to bring music back to cities and towns across our state.

Quote attributable to John Foreman OAM, Aussie Pops Orchestra

As we all know, the music industry has been very badly affected by this horrible virus. I’m so grateful that generous Victorian philanthropists have put together the Music for Victoria Fund to help restart live gigs across Victoria. As we emerge from an eerily quiet 2020, we all look forward to hearing live music – and seeing music lovers – returning to venues large and small.

Quote attributable to James Morrison AM

Many people have been hit hard by the pandemic and the performing arts sector has been one of the worst; live performances just disappeared overnight. This not only put a lot of people out of work but also severely diminished the vibrant, uplifting cultural life of our state. Although things have started to come back in some areas, we are aware that there are still countless venues and artists struggling to start the music again. Through the generosity of some of our business leaders, the Music for Victoria Fund is a wonderful chance to assist in revitalising our cultural life and not only help people get back to work but very importantly, give Victorians a chance to ‘hear the music’ again and celebrate the return of the stunning arts that are such a part of life in our state.

Quote attributable to Jane Gazzo, music journalist and Chair of the Australian Music Vault Advisory Group

The Australian music industry has been decimated by the events of the past year and this is an especially anxiety driven time for all those working within the live music sector here in Victoria. We have been at the mercy of ongoing border closures and snap lockdowns which have not only resulted in lost wages but also lost hope for so many talented people in our industry who are seriously considering their options. The Music for Victoria Fund is a glimmer of hope for venues, workers and artists finding their way back to a new COVIDSafe environment and allows musos to get back out on stage and play live music again – as well as getting music lovers back into the pubs, clubs and cafes around the state.

We’re excited to be welcoming visitors back to our venues in line with the most recent Victorian Government guidelines on COVID-19. We have opened our outdoor café Protagonist, the Sunday Markets as well as the Australian Music Vault. These openings coincided with the Live at the Bowl season, which officially kicked off on 8 January 2021.

We will continue to offer audiences the chance to experience the wonder of the performing arts via our digital hub – Together With You. For more information including: our opening plans and related health and safety policies; bookings for free and ticketed events; and other digital content and experiences, please visit

Photo Credit: Jayden Ostwald

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