festival city

Below is information for some commonly asked questions regarding the Festival City Grants Program.

If you are still unsure or your question has not been answered please contact the Festival Officer 9688 0200.

What is the Festival City Grants Program?

The Festival City Grants Program provides financial and in-kind support for festivals via a competitive grant round which is guided by Council’s Festival City Policy (The Policy) which sets out a framework to attract, host and support the best of Australia’s festivals for the benefit of the City of Maribyrnong’s residents, businesses and cultural tourists. The Festival City Grants Program is one of the many ways that Council provides support to strengthen the City’s profile as ‘Festival City’.

When do applications open and close?

The Festival City Grants Program opens annually for approximately 4 weeks.

Applications for the 2020/21 Festival City Grants Program have now closed. The next round is scheduled to open in May 2021.

Who can apply?

Applications are accepted from not-for-profit incorporated organisations that present festivals &/or significant festival activity within the City of Maribyrnong. For the 2020/21 Festival City Grants Programs specifically, applications will also be accepted from businesses located within the City of Maribyrnong.

An organisation or business can only make one application to the Festival City Grants Program per annual funding round.

See the Grants Program Guidelines full eligibility details.

How do I apply?

Applications are made through an online user friendly application process, powered by SmartyGrants.

Applications have closed for the 2020 / 21 Festival City Grant Round.


How much funding can I apply for?

Council does not set limitations on the amount applicants can apply for. As a guide in previous rounds typical amounts funded have ranged between $2,000 - $30,000, and on occasion up to $60,000.

Council is highly unlikely to cover the full cost of a festival. Applicants should have indicated other sources of income in their funding application, and also what changes they would make to the festival if they receive less money than requested from Council.

What is the difference between a festival and event?

A festival is defined in the Festival City Policy as:

An organised multi-part, celebratory occasion or activity of limited duration that brings people together for the primary purpose of participating in an uplifting community, cultural, sport, art, entertainment, music or recreational experience.

A festival may be:

  • Held every year and is not part of a regular scheduled program
  • Free or have an entry fee
  • Run on a commercial basis
  • A major indoor or outdoor one-off show, depending on its purpose
  • Festivals that Council organises

For the Festival City Grants Program Council accepts applications from organisations or business presenting festivals, or significant festival activity, in the City of Maribyrnong.

An example of ‘significant festival activity’ may be a large scale event that is a significant part of a major festival program. For example, a large-scale food fair presented as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

If you are unsure of your activity’s eligibility, please contact Council’s Festival officer on 9688 0333 to discuss before proceeding with your application.


Have any of the funding criteria changed for the 2020 / 21 Round due to COVID-19?

Yes, in response to the COVID-19 environment and to ensure funding helps support the economic recovery of the City, Council will be:

  1. accepting applications for the 2020/21 Festival City Grants Program from businesses located within the City of Maribyrnong, in addition to not-for-profit organisations

  2. preferencing applications which present contemporary experiences and attract new visitation to the City’s key activity centres

  3. preferencing applications that best demonstrate benefits to local business, local suppliers and contractors

What happens if social distancing and gathering restrictions are still in place between November 2020 & June 2021?

If restrictions are still place between November 2020 & June 2021, Council’s Festivals and Visitation team will work with each funded festival individually to work through the practicalities of adjusting, postponing or cancelling the festival.

In the event a festival is unable to go ahead between November 2020 and June 2021, Council funding will not be provided and any deposits paid will be returned to Council (less proven expenses up to the time of cancellation). Festivals which are significantly adapted will need to submit a revised budget and may receive partial funding only, depending on the revised plans.

How can I find out more information?

For more information please see read the Festival City Grants Programs Guidelines(PDF, 576KB) and the Festival City Policy(PDF, 244KB) .

 If you have further questions please contact the Festival Officer on 9688 0200.