Calling all Gold Coast musicians: Activate Music grant applications are open now

The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) has opened up applications for its 2019 Activate Music Program.

RADF is delivered by the City of Gold Coast in partnership with Arts Queensland, and supports the local arts community through three annual funding rounds: Activate, which supports Gold Coast creatives, organisations, collectives and the community to deliver diverse and innovative arts and culture projects and programs; Activate Music, which provides funding to music practitioners from all genres and career stages and music industry professionals; and Germinate, which supports Gold Coast creatives, organisations, collectives and the community in the early stage development of new work, professional development, and collaborations.

The Activate Music program had its first outing in May of 2018, where eight of the City’s professional musicians each received a share of up to $70,000 in grant funding for a variety of musical projects. Interestingly, three of the recipients ended up being finalists and winners at this year’s Gold Coast Music Awards. We thought we’d take a look at what they’ve been up to.

2019 Gold Coast Music Award finalist Ella Fence received help towards a full length 10 track album, including two singles and a promotional campaign including photography, music videos, radio, streaming and PR strategy. Ella has already put the grant to good use, dropping power-femme electro track ‘Call Girl’ in late 2018. While there’s no release date yet for the album, Ella is excited just by the process of working on it.

“My plan for the album is to explore a lot of different musical styles and work with a range of people on the songwriting, production and studio performances,” says Ella. “[I’m] using it as an opportunity to professionally develop my craft.”

Plucky harpist Elska was also a recipient of last year’s grant, gaining a boon towards the development of visual content including film clip and short documentary film to support single release ‘Boy’, the first single from Elska’s debut EP, which was released to much fanfare late in 2018. Off the back of her unique musical stylings and enchanting pop visuals, Elska took home the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 Gold Coast Music awards, and is set to release her EP soon. Watch this space.

San Mei has arguably had one of the most exciting journeys of last year’s funding recipients. Granted funding to produce, mix and master single ‘Heaven’ with acclaimed producer Oscar Dawson, plus create a film clip, San Mei has since gone on to land a spot at last year’s BIGSOUND Festival, and released gangbusters track ‘Wonder’, which scored her the Song of the Year gong at this year’s GCMAs, and also contributed to her Breakout Artist of the Year win. Both ‘Wonder’ and ‘Heaven’ received national attention and heavy airplay, and San Mei has also taken on sets at Falls Festival, JD Festival, BIGSOUND and SXSW 2019 in the USA, with plenty of label attention thrown in the mix.

Aquila Young, Isaac Atkinson, Mitch King, Lachlan McGuffie and Benny D Williams all rounded out the mix of 2018 grant recipients.

As every year, this year’s RADF Applications will assessed by the Committee, an independent panel comprised of Gold Coast creative industry professionals across multiple art forms and areas of expertise. The RADF Committee ensures that funding is allocated in line with the City’s cultural plans and policies, and the criteria relating to quality, reach, impact and viability.

The Contemporary Music Grants Program has $100,000 available annually. There is no cap on the amount that can be requested in a funding round. Applications are due by 31 May 2019. Click here to read the guidelines and apply.

IMAGE: San Mei (c) Savannah Van Der Niet


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