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COVID-19 - Where can the Events Industry get Financial Assistance?

Andy Robertson

We are living in unprecedented times and no other industry has been impacted financially like the events and hospitality industry. Whilst governments around the world have launched various schemes to provide financial assistance where do you go to get this is reality?   

For the events and hospitality sector in the UK there is financial assistance available whether you are a small or large business, an employee or self-employed. Here are some useful links and additional information on how these schemes work. Bear in mind some of these take time to action and despite making applications some time again many businesses are yet to see any cash.

Employing People.

Tax Relief.
For small business and the self-employed there are additional benefits.

Business rates relief (England).
Support Funds.
Business support grant funds (England).
Self Employed.
Support for the self-employed UK-wide.
Support for small and medium-sized businesses UK-wide.
Aside from the support provided by the UK Government there are plenty of other support funds and assistance available worldwide, most geared towards performance artists 

US & Canada

  • American Guild of Musical Artists Relief Fund (US).
    Any AGMA member in good standing is entitled and encouraged to apply for financial assistance through the AGMA Relief Fund. Grants are awarded on a case-by-case basis, based on need.
  • Artist Relief Tree (US).
    This relief fund for artists affected by cancellations due to COVID-19 offers one-off grants to artists on a first-come first-served basis. So far, more than 8,000 artists have requested funds.
  • #CanadaPerforms (Canada).
    Launched by the National Arts Centre and Facebook Canada, #CanadaPerforms is a $700,000 short-term relief fund that pays professional Canadian artists and professionally published authors for their online performances. Artists who are selected will receive $1,000 and their online performance will be broadcast on the NAC’s Facebook page. Learn more on the NAC’s website.
  • Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund (US).
    The Equal Sound Relief Fund is available to US musicians, who can apply online. 100% of the donations received will go to musicians in the fund.
  • MusiCares® COVID-19 Relief Fund (US).
    The Recording Academy’s affiliate charitable foundation has established a special fund to support those in the music community affected by the pandemic, with artists able to apply for assistance through the Academy’s website.
  • Unison Benevolent Fund (Canada).
    Unison Benevolent Fund is a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. You can donate via Spotify’s COVID-19 Music Relief Project. 


  • Freelance Artist Relief Australia (Australia).
    Founded by Australian soprano Nicole Car, Freelance Artist Relief Australia has been established to bring immediate financial help to Australian classical singers affected by the coronavirus crisis. 

UK & Ireland.

  • Arts Council England (UK).
    On Tuesday 24 March 2020 the Arts Council announced a £160 million emergency response package to support individuals and organisations across the cultural sector in response to the COVID-19 crisis. They have since announced that they will be awarding individual grants of up to £2,500, which can be applied for via the ACE website.
  • Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund (Scotland).
    Providing financial support to freelancers in Scotland who are most deeply impacted and disadvantaged by the cancellation of work due to the COVID-19 emergency with one-off bursary payments of between £500 and £2,500. Find out more
  • Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund (UK).
    Help Musicians UK have created a fund of £5m to help reduce the worry many musicians are experiencing about their mounting household expenses by offering a one-off payment of £500 per applicant. They are seeking donations from members of the public to bolster the fund, which is also supported by Spotify’s COVID-19 Music Relief Project. 
  • Irish Artist Emergency Relief Fund (Ireland).
    Dublin’s Civic Theatre has established a fund to provide financial relief to Irish artists experiencing lost income related to COVID-19. Small grants of up to €500 will be paid rapidly on a first-come, first-served basis to affected artists and groups.
  • PRS Emergency Relief Fund (UK).
    Open to PRS members globally who are suffering genuine hardship due to loss of work, and meet PRS’ eligibility criteria. This fund will be offering payments of up to £1000 to affected songwriters and composers. Find out more.
  • The MU Coronavirus Hardship Fund (UK).
    Open to members of the MU with genuine and pressing hardship, musicians can apply for grants of £200. Find out more about the eligibility criteria and how to apply. 

Rest of Europe 

  • Elbphilharmonie Support Fund.
    The organization is offering financial support to freelance, self-employed musicians, music teachers, and stage artists of any nationality who are affected by events cancelled at the Elbphilharmonie as a result of the ban on public events imposed by the City of Hamburg. Learn more here. 


  • Hong Kong Arts Development Council Support Scheme for Arts & Cultural Sector (Hong Kong).
    In addition to providing assistance for arts organisations and practitioners funded by HKADC, the scheme also supports arts organisations and individual arts practitioners affected by closure of Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) or other legitimate non-LCSD cultural venues. 

Hopefully the list above provides you with some guidance on what financial assistance is available and how to get it. If you are in the UK please also support the events and hospitality industry by signing the petition on the UK Government and Parliament website. This has already been discussed in Parliament and details of that are on the same link.

FestivalPro is doing everything it can to support the events industry. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. They understand and know the financial pressure many in the industry are facing, together we will survive into bright lights of 2021.  

Photo by Lukas from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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