Musicboard-Berlin > Funding > Festival Funding


Last Application Deadline 1.11.2022 – 6 p.m.

Jana Sylvester
T +49 (0)30 280 46 767

1 Purpose of Funding

The programme Festival Funding supports Berlin pop music festivals with the aim to generate perspectives for action and planning. Particular focus is on festivals involving up-and-coming talents in music and the music industry. With the term »pop music« Musicboard refers to all genres of popular music as well as cross-genre or experimental pop music that cannot be clearly assigned to the categories of jazz or classical and new music.

2 Conditions

The Festival Funding programme funds exclusively:

  • persons involved in pop music that are located in Berlin, who live in or have a company based in Berlin. The legal status of the applicant (for example, natural person, society, or company) is not relevant to the funding decision.
  • projects with a total scope of at least 5,000 euros
  • projects that would not take place, at least not at the required scale, without the funding
  • projects planned for 2023 that are not yet being implemented
  • projects that will be concluded within the year 2023
  • projects that will generate an overall benefit for the Berlin pop music scene and music industry, and that principally involve artists whose lives or creative work is centred in Berlin
  • projects that reflect the diversity of Berlin’s pop music scene and music industry and ensure the participation of at least 50 percent female, non-binary, and queer artists
  • projects that are sensitive to accessibility and inclusivity objectives, and that are conceived as at least 50 percent barrier-free

Excluded from the funding programme are:

  • projects for children and youth or projects intended for cultural education
  • projects which are already being implemented at the time of the funding request
  • projects already funded by the state of Berlin
  • members of the jury or employees of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe of Berlin or Musicboard Berlin GmbH and their dependents

3 Application

The following information and documents must be supplied, in German or in English, using exclusively the application tool that can be accessed via the button at the end of this page:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Detailed Project Description
    with information regarding programme planning and the project’s team as well as and short bios of the partcipating artists
  • Information on the Line-up
    including links to music samples
  • Venue Confirmation(s)
    if available
  • Specification of Costs
    towards which the funding will be applied

Only fully completed documents can be considered. All applications will be handled confidentially and used exclusively for decision-making and funding purposes. Publication of certain relevant details is granted by the applicant as part of the application process.

4 Selection Procedure

Funding is awarded awarded through Musicboard Berlin GmbH upon recommendation of an independent jury of Berlin-based pop experts and in consultation with the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. Jury members are usually appointed for a period of three years. The following jury is appointed to the Festival Funding programme in 2023:

  • Christoph Reimann
    radio journalist Deutschlandfunk, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and ByteFM
  • Dahlia Borsche
    musicologist and curator
  • Esra Karakaya
    journalist and video producer
  • Gregor Hotz
    managing director of Musikfonds e. V.
  • Judyta Smykowski
    journalist Die Neue Norm and taz

A short description of the jury members is available here.

5 Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve collected here some frequently asked questions about the application process, the project implementation and the final accounting of projects in the Festival Funding programme. This information is intended for general advice, is not legally binding, and does not take the place of an examination of individual circumstances. We will gladly answer further questions on the funding programme by phone or by email. We also recommend the free services of Music Pool Berlin and the Kulturförderberatung by Kreativ Kultur Berlin for general tips on the application process as well as a review of applications.

Questions about the Application

What should be the scope of my project, and how much funding can I request?
The submitted project should comprise a total scope of at least 5,000 euros. This need not be the requested funding amount, it can include revenue, self-funding and outside funding. Musicboard does not establish any upper limit to the requested funding, but previous Festival Funding has generally been in the range of 5,000 to 40,000 euros. A glance at the Musicboard Annual Reports will give you an idea of the level of previous funding.
What form should the Project Description take?
Your statement of purpose should, in five pages or less, provide an overview of the proposed project. In addition to providing information on the event format and schedule, the detailed project description should explain your concept along the following questions: (1.) What exactly will take place? (2.) Does the project have an overarching theme or are there different thematic clusters? (3.) Who is the target audience? Please also present the project team and participating artists through short bios. Information on the objectives of the project must be provided directly in the application form. Same applies to considerations of accessibility, inclusivity and diversity in the project’s outline. Venue confirmations can be uploaded separately, while press and image material from past events can be made available digitally as a link via the field provided for this purpose.
How do I define suitable project goals?
The application form is intended to measure up to three quantitative or qualitative project objectives. We would like to know from you first, what specific goals you hope to achieve, and second, how you will evaluate, after the programme concludes, whether you have achieved these goals. Please articulate your goals as concretely as possible and establish realistic and measurable indicators. For example: »The Festival will create a lasting impression on the theme of sustainability by offering two relevant workshops«, or »The Festival creates space for marginalized perspectives with a line-up of consisting of at least 50 percent BIPOC«. Please avoid generalised objectives that describe broad visions and wishes such as: »The project will reduce stereotypes in the pop music scene of Berlin.« It is impossible to determine whether you have achieved such goals after the project has ended.
What role is played by diversity and inclusiveness considerations in the planning of my project idea?
One of Musicboard’s main objectives is to enable everyone participate in pop culture. Diversity and inclusion are therefore a central focus of our funding. Funding decisions will pay close attention to the extent that the funded projects reflect the social and cultural diversity of Berlin’s music scene. The formulation of your project idea should therefore reflect a diverse, gender positive and inclusive orientation. In addition to the active involvement of women, non-binary and queer people, BIPoCs and people with disabilities, applicants are encouraged to develop projects that are at least 50 percent barrier-free (for individual events at least the main venue or stage must be accessible). Further, the projects should consider to reach out to people with disabilities through communication measures. Personnel and material expenses for implementing the planned accessibility measures can be calculated into the project budget. All applicants should explain their project planning in terms of inclusion and diversity when reflecting on line-up and accessibility. You can find a list of expert advice centres as well as guidelines on the accessibility of events here.
What should my specification of costs look like?
The individual budget items are to be set up directly in the online application form as a calculation. A separate financial plan is not required. Fundamentally, the cost estimate must realistically depict the total financing of the project – that is, all necessary income and spending items, including personnel expenses and costs of materials. The main positions to be calculated are specified by the Musicboard. The requested funding is automatically calculated in the application form from the difference between planned spending and planned income, the so-called funding deficit. If your company invoices sales tax and pays it to the tax office, only net amounts without VAT must be stated in the specification of costs. Please also note to allow for costs of, for example, GEMA and Künstlersozialkasse (»Social Insurance Fund for Artists«). Non-cash compensation, for example in the case of pro-bono activity or available equipment, need not be calculated into the cost estimate and may be listed at the end of the document. Detailed information on creating a detailed financial plan is available in the Musicboard Funding Guide (in German).
What are personal and outside contributions? Is outside financing permitted?
Personal contributions are considered as any project-derived income or resources of the applicant’s own that are applied to the project. This includes cash from the applicant’s own resources. Outside contributions, on the other hand, are cash contribution from, for example, private donors, foundations, and other funding sources. Proceeds from ticket sales are generally considered income. Efforts to secure outside contributions are encouraged, and should be indicated in the cost estimate. Complementary funding from Federal sources, such as from Initiative Musik or Musikfonds, is permissible. Funding of a project exclusively by Musicboard is equally acceptable. Cash contributions are in no way required as part of the funding application.
When exactly is the application deadline?
The application deadline each year for the Festival Funding programme is November 1 at 6 p.m. Until then, applications can be received online and will be posted as received before the deadline. The application is successfully received as soon as it appears in your user profile in the »Submitted Applications« section. We recommend allowing sufficient time for the upload of the application and attachments. If there are technical issues in the application submission, please contact:

Questions about funding and project start

When and how will I be informed about the decision of the jury?
The announcement of the jury’s decision follows the application deadline by roughly 6 weeks. Applicants are informed by email. Normally there are more applications received than funds available, and Musicboard is not obliged to explain its decision. There is no legal entitlement to funding.
I have received funding approval – what’s next?
Since some time has passed since the application was submitted, grantees should first check if the project can be realised as planned, or if any adaptations need to be made. If the granted funding is now less than stated in the application, grantees must provide an updated financial plan. If there are changes in project staffing, venues or time frame, these changes must be communicated to Musicboard. All such changes must be approved by Musicboard. If the detailed project description and financial plan are up to date and have been approved, for the purposes of the grant contract they are considered legally binding, and are sent to the grantees with a number of attachments and notes, as for example the General Auxiliary Regulations for Project Funding (›Allgemeinen Nebenbestimmungen für Zuwendungen zur Projektförderung‹, also known as ›ANBest-P‹). The funding monies can only be paid out after the signed grant contract and other documents are returned to Musicboard Berlin. The documents will include a so-called Mittelabruf (»retrieval of funds«) in which grantees can supply data about installment payments that will be matched to the funding request. After transfer, the installment must be used within the next two months. Please take note that Musicboard Berlin can only issue funds after own and further third-party resources have been used. For requesting funding payments, a bank account must be created that is in the name of the official grantee and will solely be used for expenditures on the project.
When may I start the project?
The funded project may begin once Musicboard Berlin and the applicant have closed a funding contract. Alternatively, following an affirmative decision by the jury, a preliminary preparation (›Vorzeitiger Maßnahmenbeginn‹) can be requested on the basis that the grantee will assume all risks in commencing the project. Please note: a claim of funding exists only upon closing of the funding contract, which in addition to the approved grant amount and the financing plan also establishes the time frame required for the development and completion of the project. In principle, projects may not begin before the approved commencement date and must be completed within the approved time frame.
How do I obtain approval from Musicboard for press and public relations coverage?
Our contractual agreement specifies that any project-related analog or digital release about the project, the funding by, the logo of and the name of Musicboard Berlin must be all be indicated. The relevant logo can be found under Forms and Templates. The preferred wording is »funded by Musicboard Berlin GmbH«. Releases or publications must be approved in advance by Musicboard. For live performances, a poster or banner of Musicboard should be displayed. We ask to receive timely notice of your request for these materials. In general, it is important that you keep us regularly informed about the progress of your project, and that you advise us of changes and last-minute details such as venue or performance times. We publicise your project information on our website and share your project information on our social media channels.
What changes do I need to report to the Musicboard?
In general, Musicboard Berlin must be informed of any changes in terms of the project’s outline (affecting the project’s purpose) and budget. In order to obtain approval for the changes, the overall financing of the project must be secured and the purpose of the funding must still be fulfilled. As a rule, budget positions that have been declared contractually binding may only be altered by 20% without notifying the Musicboard. The Musicboard must be notified of new positions as well as larger deviations. Please note that funds contributed to the project from the applicant’s own resources cannot be reduced or replaced by other third-party funds once the funding contract has been issued. All budget changes must be reported to the Musicboard using the template provided.

Questions about the project accounting

What do I need to consider in my accounting once my project has begun?
Once a funded project has begun, different aspects must be taken into account in the use of the funding. These are based on the General Auxiliary Regulations for Project Funding and the Regional Budgetary Code of the State of Berlin (›Landeshaushaltsordnung des Landes Berlin‹). All income and spending items incurred in the course of the project must be evidenced by original receipts such as invoices, contracts or cash receipts. These must always be supplemented by proof of payment such as bank statements or cash receipts. Income such as entrance fees must also be documented with the corresponding cash receipts and deposit at the bank. All invoices and receipts must meet the requirements of proper invoicing, such as date, amount, invoice number, purpose and payee. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin provides more detailed information on the legally required invoice details (in German).
What regulations do I have to comply with when I employ staff or commission artists and other third parties to perform a service?
The Musicboard expects all project participants to be paid appropriately, especially musicians and other professionals. When commissioning professionally working musicians and bands, the Musicboard Berlin recommends fees, which are intended as a guideline and may vary depending on the level of professionalization of the musicians as well as the scope of the event. We recommend payment of a minimum of 200 to 250 euros per musician for bands and 500 euros per musician for solo artists and duos. For personnel, the state minimum wage of 13.00 euros applies. The so-called ›Besserstellungsverbot‹ further ensures that project staff may not be paid more than comparable public employees. If a third party is commissioned with services as part of your project, e.g. for technical rental or flyer printing, certain provisions of public procurement law must be met, depending on the volume of the order. For expenditures up to 1,000 euros net, an informal price comparison must be obtained, for example by internet research. For expenditures above 1,000 euros net, at least three written offers must be gathered. The offer with the best cost-benefit relationship is to be selected (not necessarily the cheapest). All contract awards must be documented in writing. In the case of expenses for travel or overnight stays, the German Federal Travel Expenses Law applies. Detailed information can be found in your funding contract as well as in the Guidelines for Final Accounting.
Which expenditures am I not allowed to charge to Musicboard funding?
The funds granted are meant exclusively for project and function-driven purposes in the funded project. To verify this, specific original documentation will be required at the project’s conclusion. Only expenditures that were originally and exclusively applied during the approved project time frame are eligible for reimbursement. Ongoing material and personnel expenses, for example hiring of core staff, insurance or other existing infrastructure, are normally not reimbursable. The same applies to services such as taxis and catering for artists. Taxi costs are accepted only in exceptional circumstances, such as for transport of heavy equipment. Catering expenses (no alcohol, no employees) is only possible to a limited extent when approved in advance by the Musicboard. In this case a receipt for the expense and the name of the guest hosted must be supplied.
How and when must I end the project?
Funded projects must be concluded within the time frame specified in the funding contract. An extension of the project time frame must be requested in writing before the end of the valid time frame, and can only granted within the funding year. Within three months of the end of the project time frame, a project accounting must be sent to Musicboard Berlin for review by post. The so-called proof of use (›Verwendungsnachweis‹) can be written in German or English and must include a cover sheet and written report, a numerical report, a list of all invoices, the original receipts and account statements during the project time frame. Please use only the provided templates for the written and numerical reports as well as the list of all invoices, and make sure to include the original signature on the cover sheet. All information needed for the preparation of a final accounting is found in our Guidelines for Final Accounting (›Leitfaden für Verwendungsnachweise‹). If by the end of the project time frame, none or not all of the granted funds are needed, the balance must be paid back. If there are deviations from the financial plan or grant purpose, missing attachments or a lack of clarity, Musicboard will contact the grant recipient, who is required to retain all relevant documents for a period of five years. In the worst case certain budget items may not be accepted as eligible for funding which may lead to a (partial) return of granted funds.

The application period for the year 2023 has ended. Information on the application for 2024 will be announced in autumn 2023.