Manchester International Festival is giving £10,000 to local musicians

Ten different creatives will receive £1,000 each for their projects as part of the MIF Sounds initiative - and applications are open now

Georgina Pellant Georgina Pellant - 17th November 2021

MIF is offering £10,000 to local musicians and creatives in and around Manchester as part of its MIF Sounds initiative.

Pledging £10,000 to support ten Greater Manchester music industry creatives and practitioners, the funds have been specially created to help local artists develop new projects across the region.

Manchester International Festival’s MIF Sounds Initiative provides financial help and talent development opportunities.

First launched in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, the first round of funding helped support the creation of new music, a series of production workshops run for women, non-binary and trans musicians, a sound artist collective to produce an installation in a church, and the launch of a new gig night promoting the best in Northern talent.

Now, the funding has been opened up for 2021 – meaning that each successful applicant will receive up to £1,000 whilst also benefiting from peer-to-peer support, access to MIF’s Talent Development activity and networking opportunities.


From recording music to presenting a gig, releasing a record or starting a new label imprint., people from all areas of the music industry in Greater Manchester are encouraged to apply with no restrictions on what they can ask to use the money for.

Jane Beese, head of music at MIF said: “I’m pleased to announce another round of MIF Sounds support, open to everyone who makes music happen in Manchester. MIF is committed to helping rebuild our sector following the impact of Covid*, in which tens of thousands of jobs have been impacted.


“We encourage everyone involved in the local music scene to apply, artists, technicians, promoters, venues, labels, managers and beyond we look forward to hearing all of your brilliant ideas and proposals.”

Those supported through MIF Sounds so far have included: All Hands on Deck, Swing Ting founder Balraj Samrai, Jacob Connor, Loose Articles, Lone Taxidermist, singer OneDa, SAF-S2E, Sprechen, Vzion, and more.

Swing Ting founder Balraj Samrai explains how the initiative helped him, saying: “The backing from MIF Sounds enabled me to commit to work outside of my comfort zone. There was support, feedback and encouragement from the rest of the Sounds cohort and MIF team throughout the creative process”.


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On 23 November Balraj will release Someone Died Today, new work created with the support of MIF Sounds, which explores loss in a South Asian household during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The piece will be available to purchase on Bandcamp with money raised from sales going to Taraki, a non-profit working with Punjabi communities to reshape approaches to mental health.

People interested in applying MIF Sounds can attend an online meeting with MIF at 6.30 pm on Monday, 29 November to get advice from the selection panel on applying. 

Applications for MIF Sounds should be submitted by video or in writing by midday on Thursday 16 December here. Successful applicants will be announced in January 2022.

Feature image – WHP