The current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) global pandemic is having a significant impact on the international music industry. Travel bans, limits on large public gatherings and the cancellation of events are just some of the disruptive but necessary measures in place to limit the spread of the disease.

All overseas travel from Australia is currently banned, with few exceptions. From 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia, and must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. More information at the Smart Traveller website.

Were you planning on attending or performing at a showcase festival in the coming months? Below is the latest information on a number of these events.

SXSW (Austin, Texas) –
Original Dates – March 16 – 22, 2020
Passes will be valid for 2021 Festival

MUSEXPO (Burbank, CA) –
Original Dates – March 22 – 25 2020
New Dates – TBA (Passes will be valid)

JAZZAHEAD! (Bremen, Germany) –
Original Dates – 23 – 26 April 2020
Passes will be valid for 2021 Festival (29 April – 2 May 2021)

ECMA (St Johns, NL, CANADA) –
Original Dates – 30 April – 3 May 2020

Liverpool Sound City (Liverpool, UK) –
Original Dates – 1 – 3 May 2020 / September 25 – 27 2020

Focus Wales (Wrexham, Wales) –
Original Dates – May 7 – 9 2020 / October 7 – 10 2020
New Dates – 2021 TBA

Nashville Music Biz (Nashville, USA) –
Original Dates – 11 – 14 May 2020
Tickets will remain valid for the 2021 event. Music Biz will be conducting virtual events throughout the year.

The Great Escape (Brighton, UK) –
Original Dates – May 13 – 16 2020
Tickets will remain valid for the 2021 event, 12th – 15th May 2021, or refunds are available.

Classical:NEXT (Rotterdam, Netherlands) –
Original Dates – May 18 – 21 2020

Canadian Music Week (Toronto, Canada) –
Original Dates – May 18 – 23 2020

FIMPRO (Guadalajara, Mexico)  –
Original Dates – 27 – 30 May 2020
New Dates – TBA September 2020

MIDEM (Cannes, France)  –
Original Dates – 2 – 5 June 2020
The virtual event will take place across the same dates. Please visit their website for more details.

PRIMAVERA PRO (Barcelona)  –
Original Dates – 3 – 7 June 2020
New Dates – 21 – 24 July 2020

The festival it accompanies, Primavera Sound, has been cancelled for this year and the next physical Sound & Pro events will be held 2 – 6 June 2021. Passes will remain valid for this event, or ticket holders can apply for a refund.

A2IM INDIE WEEK (New York City, NY)  –
Original Dates – 15 – 18 June 2020
The virtual event will take place across the same dates. Please visit their website for more details..

MUSIC MATTERS (Singapore) –
Original Dates13 – 16 September 2020
Status – UNKNOWN
All That Matters has announced they are transitioning to an “always-on conference, networking and content experience”. More information TBA.

AMERICANAFEST (Nashville, USA)  – Official Website
Original Dates – 15 – 20 September 2020

Dates: 16 – 18 September 2020
Tickets and more details now available HERE

REEPERBAHN (Hamburg, Germany)  –
Original Dates – 16 – 19 September 2020
Head HERE for more details about registrations for the event. 

Thinking of running Virtual Events while you’re in self-isolation? There’s a fantastic resource here from Cherie Hu, the “Virtual Music Events Directory“, which is being updated regularly. You can see that HERE.


On Sunday 22 March, the Australian Government announced their second stimulus package, aimed primarily at small to medium businesses, sole traders and casual workers.

The Guild Group and the VMDO have summarised what this means:

On Monday 30 March, the Australian Government announced their third stimulus package, a $130 billion JobKeeper payment program. The package requires legislating and is being voted on by the Australian Parliament on Wednesday 8 April.

The Guardian has written an article explaining who is eligible for the JobKeeper payments:


The Australia Council has announced a Resilience Fund of approximately $5M for artists and arts organisations to support their livelihoods, practice and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CEO Adrian Collette AM said this new measure within the Council’s existing budget is essential during this critical period when the cultural and creative sectors are experiencing immediate and enormous challenges due to the impact of the virus.

The Resilience Fund has been created to provide immediate relief to Australian artists, arts workers and arts organisations and support their livelihoods, practice and operations.

The 2020 Resilience Fund includes three streams:

  • Survive – small grants for individuals, groups and organisations to offset or recoup financial losses due to cancelled activity.
  • Adapt – grants for individuals, groups and organisations to adapt their practice and explore new operating models.
  • Create – grants for individuals, groups and organisations to continue to create artistic work and develop creative responses in a time of disruption.

Organisations that currently receive multi-year funding from the Australia Council are not eligible to apply. This includes National Performing Arts Partnership organisations, Four Year Funded organisations, and organisations funded under the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy.

Applications for the Resilience Fund quick response opportunities open on Friday 3 April 2020.


HOMEFRONT – funding for Canberra artists

The ACT Government recognises the immediate support needed for Canberra artists who have lost their income and ability to maintain their arts practice as a result of COVID-19.

As part of a whole of Government response to the impacts of COVID-19, funding of up to $10,000 per artist will be available for Canberra artists to support arts development and the sustainability of their arts practices over the next 6-9 months.

This is across all artforms including screen artists. This includes research and development, making of new works or sharing of works via online platforms, and artists fees and living expenses to undertake arts activities. Artists may also apply for the creation and development of works to be exhibited or performed in public venues in the future, when it becomes safe to undertake these activities.

A total of $500,000 will be available. Applicants will need to provide:

  • a statement outlining how the funding will support their arts development and practice;
  • a brief bio; and
  • a current CV.

Arts Development Supports:

  • new and exciting ideas
  • artists to develop their skills and practice.

Arts Participation and Access Engages the community:

  • as active participants in artistic skills development
  • in inclusive and accessible arts activities that reflect the diversity of the community.

Arts Opportunities Assists:

  • artists and organisations to reach new audiences and markets
  • artists and organisations to connect nationally and internationally including through residencies and cultural exchange
  • work to be showcased to national and international audiences.


The City of Sydney

The City of Sydney are near doubling their total COVID-19 package, with $3.5m in direct financial support for the arts.

The new funding programs include $2.25 million in immediate financial support for not-for-profit and sole traders reliant on grants and project-based funds to keep staff and pay their artists.

A $1 million fund will also support artists to engage in creative development of works driven by the cultural sector, and to purchase materials and equipment.

Another $250,000 fund will provide direct donations to locally operated online platforms which raise money to offer emergency relief to “cultural workers in crisis.

Create NSW

Create NSW has announced new funding initiatives and the repurposing of existing funding totalling $6.34 million to support independent artists and small to medium arts, screen and cultural organisations impacted by COVID-19.

Key elements of the COVID-19 measures announced that impact the music community include:

– Over $1 million for accommodation assistance.
– $450,000 for new a a new arts funding program specifically targeted at those impacted by COVID-19.
– $350,000 funding increase to Small Project Grants – this quick response grant mechanism offers grants from $500 to $5,000 towards projects.
– $180,000 for new rounds of Creative Leadership – six new fellowship opportunities (each valued at $30,000) will be offered for individual artists and groups to experience digital residency programs, professional virtual placements and professional development provided by leading NSW organisations including the Art Gallery of NSW, the State Library of NSW, Sydney Youth Orchestra, Hayes Musical Theatre and Byron Writers’ Festival.

You can find more details here:


$2 million towards a Creative Industries Immediate Response and Resilience Package 

The package includes:


Support for the Territory arts sector including not-for-profit organisations and artists to help establish an on-line presence including the capacity to develop online content, establishing e-commerce platforms, and supporting business continuity and remote operations.

CHANNEL NT ($200 000)

Development of an online platform to live stream NT creative content, stand-up comedy, live lounge room performances and gigs, creating an online community for creative practice and engagement, showcasing and profiling NT arts to the world.

The platform will be managed, delivered and produced by NT local creative producers, with content provided by artists, in partnership with screen and arts businesses.


Grants will support Northern Territory artists and arts workers across multiple art forms to develop and showcase new work, develop innovative online or digital projects, and acquire new skills.

Activities may include:

  • research, development and creation of new artistic works;
  • innovative use of technology, online platforms, live streaming to develop and show case new work, reach audiences and develop online communities and engagement;
  • skills development including participation in online workshops or skills development activities; and
  • support for emerging artists in the first five years of professional practice.


The Government has made a significant investment over the past four years to grow this important industry.This program will support screen content development, essential upskilling of the industry and development of production-ready content.

A broad range of screen practitioners will benefit, as well as supporting creatives who are essential in the development of screen content including, NT musicians, graphic designers, illustrators, animators, prop and set builders and clothes designers.


Grants will be provided to our Indigenous visual arts peak bodies (Desart and ANKA) to provide intensive support to Aboriginal art centres, artists and arts workers.

The Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture is working hard to establish these programs and will provide details as soon as possible. In addition, Arts NT, Screen Territory and NTMEC have been given discretion to provide reporting and other grant condition relief to organisations with existing NTG funding arrangements.


Over $8 million in funding relief measures, which will help many small-to-medium arts organisations pay their bills and keep people employed during the current health crisis.

To provide certainty for the sector, companies that are current recipients of the 2017-2020 Organisations Fund, will be guaranteed a further twelve months’ funding at current levels to December 2021.

Arts Queensland is also suspending applications for the next four-year funding round, in order to take pressure off organisations to do long-term planning.” Ms Enoch said.

Arts Queensland will also waive rental payments for tenants based in Queensland Government Arts facilities through to December 2020.

Further assistance for Queensland arts sector to support individual artists and arts workers through existing programs.

These initiatives equate to $2.5 million in support.

Grants which will provide funds for individual artists and arts organisations to help them during these difficult times.

The next round of Individuals Fund grants will be boosted to $500,000, with criteria expanded to encourage applications with a focus on building digital skills, creative development and small project activities; as well as the digital adaptation or delivery of works.

Applications will also open to access a total of $2 million under the Queensland Arts Showcase Program (QASP), to support a range of activities including creative development, digital content creation, and digital delivery.”

Funding caps for QASP Arts Ignite and Arts Impact projects will increase to $80 000, and to $120,000 for QASP Arts Illuminate projects.

Eligibility requirements for QASP applications have also been broadened to encourage digital delivery into schools and communities and support small equipment purchases.


QMusic will deliver $3,000 grants, via Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, to musicians and music industry workers as part of the stART program. This investment aims to assist the Queensland music community through a one off payment to continue their artistic practices following the devastating effects from the COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions.

Individual applicants can access up to $3,000 to support ideation, preparation, planning and collaboration activities focussed on future creative opportunities during the COVID recovery phase. Applications will be assessed on how COVID-19 restrictions have impacted the applicants creative practice, prior artistic activity in the arts and culture community and how the stART grant will be applied to future outcomes.

Applications to the stART Grant Program are open via the Expression of Interest form and will close at 11:59pm (AEST), Monday 22 June 2020.



MDO Project Support Grant

The new Music Development Office Project Support Grants will support artists and music businesses through financial contributions allowing them to continue to develop new content and new ways of working, planning and connecting under the current COVID-19 conditions.

These grants have three distinct streams of funding:

  • Stream A) Creative Development Support Grants – Up to $5,000 per grant to support artists, songwriters and producers in developing and/or releasing new original music composition or content. The grants will support projects/activities from 15 May 2020 – 30 September 2020.
  • Stream B) Music Business Project Support Grants – Up to $20,000 per grant to support self-managed artists, artist managers, promoters, live music venues, and other music businesses/organisations who facilitate the creation, production and performance of original music. The grants will be available to assist in developing and implementing new strategies that aid the recovery of businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Stream c) Music Industry Initiatives Support Grants – Up to $20,000 per grant to support individuals or organisations with a proposal for new innovative approaches, initiatives and activities that will support or stimulate the music sector during the restriction period imposed by the threat of COVID-19. The grants will support projects/activities from 15 May 2020 – 30 September 2020.

Recognising the industry’s urgent need for support, the MDO has reduced the usual grant round timing to ensure a quick turnaround of funds for all successful applicants. Please note the updated timing:

  • Wednesday 8 April – Grant round opens
  • Friday 17 April – Grant round closes
  • Applicants will receive notification on whether they have been successful in receiving their grant by the end of April.

Professional South Australian musicians writing and performing their own music, and local music businesses who support these artists in the development, delivery or production of original music, who have been in operation for more than six months and have a South Australian registered ABN will be eligible to apply.

It is essential that you read the official HANDBOOK on these new grants, containing full details on criteria and mandatory information to include in applications. We also encourage you to thoroughly read the FAQs before submitting an application.

For any further enquiries please contact MDO grant administrator Elizabeth Reid via email: or phone (08) 7320 3307.

South Australian Government

$1.5 million in South Australian Government assistance for the arts sector

The COVID-19 Arts Grants support art making, creative development and professional development across all art forms. It will be a condition of funding that independent artists and smaller organisations will be primary financial beneficiaries. The intent of these grants aims to:

  • provide employment for independent artists, and contribute to the sustainability of the small-to-medium sector in uncertain times
  • enable the development of new work in new ways
  • support the exploration of true cross-sector collaboration as resources and knowledge are shared for mutual benefit
  • provide funding to the sector for other areas of greatest need

Outcomes may be:

  • bringing work to audiences in new ways and via different platforms and experiences
  • creative development to have new work ready to go at a later time
  • outcomes that cannot be anticipated at this time
  • support for immediate day-to-day needs

Grants and funding

Total funding of $1.5 million will be allocated in the coming weeks. The COVID-19 programs and opportunities are as follows:

  • Innovating Practice: quick response grants of $5,000 to $10,000 for independent, professional artists, towards the purchase, hire or upgrade of technology and equipment – to enable development and sharing of new and existing work via digital and virtual platforms.
  • Creative Endeavour: quick response grants of $5,000 to $10,000 for independent, professional artists, to undertake professional development or continue creative practice in whatever form that may take.

In assessing quick response grants, priority will be given to supporting artists who have had contracts cancelled, performances and tours cancelled, exhibitions postponed due to closed galleries, etc.

  • Arts Organisations’ Collaboration: grants of up to $100,000 for major arts and cultural organisations, the small-to-medium sector and independent artists to achieve employment outcomes, explore new ways of working together, create and develop work and engage with audiences.It will be a condition of funding that the independent artists and smaller organisations will be the primary financial beneficiaries, with the major organisation contributing in-kind resources and organisational capacity (such as staff time or facilities) to the project or initiative which is the subject of the application.
  • simplifying application and reporting requirements to reduce administrative burden and fast-track the release of funds.

In addition, a donation of $50,000 to “Support Act” has just been made to enable increased support towards the organisation’s “Support Act Wellbeing Helpline” and other vital services provided to the sector, particularly the Australian musicians and music workers and crew.


As part of the Tasmanian Government’s COVID-19 support package, new funding of $1.5 million and operational measures of over $2 million has been introduced to support the individuals and organisations leading Tasmania’s renowned cultural sector.

The package has been designed to specifically address the challenges facing our artists, screen practitioners and organisations.

In addition to this funding, the Tasmanian Government’s small business emergency supports grants program of $20 million will be established for initial emergency grant payments of $2,500 to business in a variety of industries including those in the arts sector who are suffering financial hardship.

Application details for this support will be updated soon.

Additional funding Arts Organisations $500 000

Additional competitive funding for arts organisations not captured in annual funding extension for arts organisations (operational measure one below) will support additional employment and activity in the arts and cultural sector.


Arts organisations based in Tasmania are eligible for this funding, excluding the following groups:

  • Organisations in receipt of support under Arts Tasmania’s Cultural Heritage Program are not eligible to apply for funding towards activities that are already supported
  • Organisations in receipt of annual funding extension (operational measure number one outlined below) are not eligible to apply

Tasmanian Contemporary Music Fund

To support contemporary musicians whose engagements have been cancelled due to COVID-19 to record music and music videos for digital distribution and promotion, grants of up to $15 000 are available.

Projects must take place in Tasmania and support Tasmanian musicians to work with other Tasmanian artists and production professionals.


  • To qualify for funding under the Tasmanian Contemporary Music Fund, you must be a Tasmanian artists or arts worker who has been resident in Tasmania for at least six of the last 12 months or a Tasmanian arts organisation.
  • Groups with interstate members can apply but only Tasmanian artists and professionals can be supported.
  • Organisations with multi-year government arts funding are eligible to apply.
  • Contemporary music includes music that is currently being written and performed and includes all types of contemporary music and jazz.


Arts Tasmania and Screen Tasmania operational responses to COVID-19 impacts on the sector are as follows:

  1. Extending the contract of arts organisations in receipt of single year or final year funding through the Organisations program. This measure is worth $1 657

Arts Tasmania has 19 arts organisations on single year or in the final year of agreements under the Organisations program. These contracts are to be extended for one year, allowing arts organisations to continue to operate through this period of disruption and plan activities for 2021. KPIs and activities for existing and extended contracts will be revised on a case-by-case basis. This will allow arts organisations to plan their cashflow and continue to employ their staff wherever possible and feasible.

  1. Early payment of outstanding 10 per cent balances. This measure is worth approximately $349 850

As part of Arts Tasmania contracts with funded clients, 10 per cent of funds are withheld until acquittals have been received, processed and accepted.  This measure will see all 10 per cent balances paid as soon as clients provide an invoice.  This will immediately assist funded clients to cashflow through this disrupted period.

First Tasmanian Stimulus announcement.

The only part relevant for music is this:The Government will also provide a 50 per cent discount on liquor licencing fees and waive all application fees for the calendar year 2020, back dated to 1 January 2020.


Creative Victoria

A $16.8 million Victorian Government funding package will provide immediate support to Victorian creative organisations and individuals to sustain employment, develop new works and provide opportunities for creative community participation, in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Announcing the package, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said: “Victoria is proudly the creative state. Even in these unprecedented times, our creatives continue to find ways to connect and inspire us – but they are doing it tough and they need our help.

“Ensuring that our cultural and creative sector gets through to the other side of this crisis will be critical to Victoria’s economic, social and cultural recovery.”

The package, which focuses on Victoria’s small to medium and independent creative sector, includes a $13 million Strategic Investment Fund which will boost support to almost 100 non-government arts and cultural organisations.

These span festivals; theatres and performing arts companies; museums and galleries; and First Peoples, youth and culturally diverse arts organisations that collectively employ almost 2,000 people and generate $270 million for the Victorian economy each year.

Beneficiaries include Victorian icons La Mama Theatre and Heide Museum of Modern Art, festivals such as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Fringe, regional events like the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and Clunes Booktown Festival and First Peoples organisations Ilbijerri Theatre and Kaiela Arts in Shepparton, and many more.

The fund will help organisations to stabilise, continue their operations and keep people employed, commission local artists to develop new works, and deliver programs for their communities.

A new $2.2 million initiative – Sustaining Creative Workers – will offer quick response grants for Victorian-based independent creatives and micro-organisations with at least five years of professional experience.

Grants of $5,000 will be available for individuals, and $10,000 for micro-organisations and businesses. An additional $2,500 in access funding will be available for Deaf and Disabled creatives, and Disability-led organisations.

Creative Victoria’s funding programs continue to provide vital support to the sector, enabling creatives to work during the shutdown, develop new projects, undertake professional development and pilot online platforms and other initiatives to reach new audiences.

Almost $1.6 million will be invested directly into the sector over the next three weeks through the latest rounds of the VicArts Grants, Music Works, and Innovation in Marketing programs. Details of the grant recipients through these rounds will be available on the Creative Victoria website from midday on Monday, 27 April.

For more information on the grants, please visit

Melbourne City Council

Melbourne City Council has just approved $2m worth of Quick Response Arts Grants.

$4,000 each = 500 grants. For individual artists (with an ABN) or small arts organisations. In two types: ‘development’, for the development of new work, and ‘online presentation’ grants, to put developed work online.

Criteria and outcome requirements are pared right back, e.g. development grant application does not require a presentation outcome to be nominated, but of course this is for artists who live, practice, work or regularly present in the City of Melbourne.

We’ve also granted rent relief to all arts organisations that are tenants of Council-controlled properties, and arts organisations in the City of Melbourne will have access to a separate funding pool for various categories of Quick Response Business Grants.

State Government

Payroll tax refunds have now hit the bank accounts of 2,700 small businesses, putting $52 million immediately back into the pockets of business owners. More than 21,000 small businesses have been contacted about their refund, with all eligible businesses who have provided their bank details to get their money from the Victorian Government by the end of next week.

In more support for businesses impacted by the coronavirus, the first tranche of the Government’s $500 million Business Support Fund grants will flow from Monday, with $10,000 grants available for over 30,000 employers who don’t pay payroll tax.

Victorian Government Business Support Fund. Small businesses are eligible to apply for a $10k grant if they:

  • Employ staff.
  • Have been subject to closure or are highly impacted by Victoria’s shutdown restrictions announced to-date External link (opens in same window).
  • Have a turnover of more than $75,000.
  • Have payroll of less than $650,000.

For more information and to apply, head to the link below (…/grants-and-assi…/business-support-fund


$159 million COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide crisis support.

  • Lotterywest grants prioritised towards a $159 million COVID-19 Relief Fund
  • $59 million immediately available for crisis relief for organisations helping people experiencing hardship as well as for community groups impacted by event cancellations
  • Up to $100 million additional funds to be raised through Lotterywest sales
  • Eligible not-for-profit organisations and community groups can apply immediately for grant support

Premier Mark McGowan and Lotterywest have today established a $159 million COVID-19 relief fund to provide support to organisations that are helping people experiencing hardship.

An initial $59 million will be available for crisis and emergency relief support for eligible not‑for-profit and community organisations to assist with costs related to increased demand for food, clothing, shelter and other critical needs.

Funding will also support new equipment and resources to update processes that are required to adapt to rapidly changing needs.

This funding will also provide urgent financial relief for not-for-profit sports, arts and community organisations experiencing hardship as a result of cancelled events. It will compensate for cancellation costs, lost revenue and incurred or committed operational costs associated with the cancelled event. Often these events were crucial to the ongoing operations of important community organisations.

Lotterywest will now allocate all profits previously assigned to the grants budget, anticipated to be about $100 million, directly into the newly created fund to assist the Western Australian community to recover.

Eligible not-for-profit organisations and community groups can apply immediately for grant support by visiting or by calling 133 777.

“From now on – every profit Lotterywest makes from jackpots, draws and tickets excluding statutory grants – will go directly into a newly created COVID-19 Relief Fund.

“To ensure this money goes directly to the people who need it most, this fund will support not-for-profit organisations’ crisis and emergency relief, to assist with an increased demand for food, clothing, shelter and other critical needs.”

Information is changing all the time. The World Health Organisation has rolling coronavirus updates here:

Information specifically for Australia is available from the Australian Government’s Department Of Health website, here:

It’s important to note that as of Monday 16th March, anyone arriving into Australia from overseas will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. This had already been in effect in New Zealand, and you’ll find some details on what “self-isolation” means at the NZ Ministry Of Health website:

You can find regularly updated information from Austrade, with specific advice for exporters here:

For regular updates on COVID-19 announcements both in Australia and around the world that are impacting the Nightlife Economy, including relief initiatives, head to Global Cities After Dark:

If you work in the Australian music industry and have lost work due to the coronavirus outbreak, I Lost My Gig wants to hear from you:

On The Move has an excellent list of resources – particularly focused on Europe, Asia and the USA – relating to the impact of the coronavirus. Here you’ll find information on mobility constraints, campaigns, petitions to support the independent art scene and announcements of new funds:

The CoveyLaw website has an FAQ section regarding artist mobility to the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic:

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is offering support to those experiencing financial difficulties:

If you live in Australia and experiencing hardship, you can call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or text their helpline on 0477 13 11 14.

If you would like to speak to a member of Sounds Australia about your situation, please do not hesitate to send us an email at and we will give you a call.

We will attempt to update this website frequently as new information comes to hand.