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(PDF, 244KB) 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.

The 2021/22 Festival City Grants Program was open 3-31 May 2021, for festivals occurring between October 2021 and June 2022 (inclusive).

The Festival City Grants program is currently on hold whilst we undergo a review of the Festival City Policy. It is anticipated that an updated Grants Program for festivals and activations will open in July/August 2022.   

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 and 2021/22 Festival City Grants Programs specifically, applications were 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 Festival-City-Grant-Guidelines-2021-22(PDF, 209KB) for full eligibility details.

How do I apply?

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

Applications are currently closed. The next Grant Round for festivals is scheduled to open in May 2022.

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 indicate 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 2021 / 22 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 2021/22 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 change prior to a funded festival happening?

COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on the delivery of festivals, and Council acknowledges the ongoing challenges that this situation presents for the festivals and events industry.

Whilst currently restrictions on public gatherings have significantly eased, Council is aware of the dynamic environment we all live in whilst the pandemic continues.  Should State Public Health requirements change in the lead up to or during a funded festival, Council’s Festivals and Visitation team will work with organisers to work through the practicalities of adjusting, postponing or cancelling. Festivals which need to be significantly adapted will be required to submit a revised budget and may receive partial funding only, depending on the revised plans. Council will evaluate the individual circumstances for festivals which are unable to go ahead within the funded period, and advise whether grant funds will be required to be refunded. Further details in relation to cancellation will be outlined in the funding agreement.

It is the legal responsibility of anyone planning a public event in Victoria to ensure it is designed as a COVIDSafe event in accordance with current public health advice. As at May 2021, all public events must comply with the requirements of the State Government’s Public Events Framework. Depending on the scale and risk involved, the event organiser must seek approval from the Victorian Government to run the event. For further detail visit: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/public-events. Festivals will be required to provide Council with evidence of registration with the State Government and have completed all COVIDSafe event documentation within the specified timeframe


How can I find out more information?

For more information please see read the Festival-City-Grant-Guidelines-2021-22-FINAL.pdf(PDF, 209KB) and the Festival City Policy(PDF, 244KB) .

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