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Festivals Fund

About the fund

This fund is designed to help museums to develop local and regional relationships in order to increase their audience development potential.

It will do this by supporting museums with the costs of staging an event that is part of a wider local or regional event programme or festival.

Please note that taking part in a wider event or festival is key. This fund will not support individual museums to initiate isolated events where the “others” they work with are confined to either target audience groups (eg. schools or formal community groups) and/or suppliers that are being paid to deliver a service.

Take part in the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020! Activity is taking place across Scotland, if there are other events happening in your area and you want to join in and enhance local celebrations of YCW 2020, you can apply to the Festivals Fund. If you are already in receipt of a Festival Fund award this year, or have plans to participate in another festival already, don’t worry -  for YCW 2020, we will accept more than one application per museum.


Any organisation that runs an Accredited museum in Scotland can apply.

Individual museums can apply for funding once each financial year.  Museums wishing to take part in local celebrations of YCW 2020 can apply more than once.

The event included in the application must be open to members of the public and not an invite only or restricted guest list event.

The wider event of festival in which you are participating must have a local or regional focus - we cannot fund participation in either national or subject specific events that have no local focus. Participation in local celebrations and contributions to National events can be supported. For example, if there is a range of activity happening locally in relation to a themed year, you can apply for funding to contribute to the local programme.


Organisations can apply for between £300 and £1500 (up to 100% of the total project costs).

When to apply

There are four rounds of funding in each financial year, with an open application process year-round. Events that are awarded funding must take place within 8 months of receiving their award. All grants must be claimed within two months of the event taking place.

Closing date

Award date

6 February 2020 (5PM)

19 March 2020

30 April 2020 (5PM)

11 June 2020

18 June 2020 (5PM)

30 July 2020

8 October 2020 (5PM)

10 December 2020

4 February 2021 (5PM)

18 March 2021

How to apply

All applicants should contact MGS to discuss potential applications. Please contact the MGS Communications and Marketing team on 0131 550 4100 or Eithne Ní Chonghaile, Senior Communications Manager on

Applications need to be made through MGS Online, our online grants application service.

Apply now via MGS online

Assessment criteria

We will assess your application against the following criteria:

How involved you are in a wider event

We will consider:

  • What is your specific involvement with the wider event eg., if applicable are you an official part of the programme?
  • In what ways are you engaging/collaborating with other organisations

How clearly you have defined your target audience(s) and planned to market to them

  • You can identify more than one audience but we’ll expect you to be specific. Instead of ‘the general public’ and ‘local people’, think more in terms of detail eg. Parents of children aged 5-12, young people aged 18-24 or local audiences interested in dancing. If you do not define specific audiences you will not be able to market your event effectively.
  • Your involvement with local/regional marketing organisations, channels and/or contacts.
  • We will look at what ways you will market your event to ensure that your identified audiences are aware of it.

How will participating benefit your organisation

We will consider:

  • Why you have chosen this particular event or festival and what impact it will have on your organisation.
  • To what extent the partnerships/relationships you form will help to support your organisation in the long term.
  • The lasting legacy of the learnings and skills developed through participating in the event.


We will look for evidence that your project can be delivered on time and to budget.

What we can fund

Costs directly associated with putting on and marketing your museum's event.

What we can't fund

  • Costs that are not primarily associated with staging the specific event in the application
  • Acquisitions
  • Salaries for existing staff unless it can be clearly demonstrated that the work is additional to their normal hours
  • Events that are not part of a local/regional festival or event
  • Events with no demonstrable regional impact
  • Events that are invite-only

Support materials


We have prepared a set of FAQs which may answer any questions you have on the fund (see supporting documents below). However, if you have any further questions, please contact us.



There are a range of materials that might help when you're planning your event. Produced originally for those participating in Festival of Museums, the content is relevant to anyone planning or holding an event. 

This will give you information about finding information on your visitors and developing your audiences.

Advice on raising the profile of your museum, from advocacy and marketing to measuring your impact.



We've also produced a range of webinars on aspects of event planning, management and evaluation. These include:

Presented by former Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Paul Gudgin, discover how to devise, develop and deliver exciting events. It covers key elements from programming through planning, budgeting and delivery.

 Nicola Johnston from the Tall Ship explains how they kept their #FOM2017 event ship shape in Glasgow fashion.

PR Experts, Stripe Communications, share their hints and tips on mastering local PR.

Shaun Bell of Stripe PR gives some practical tips about how to attract attention to your event and highlights the benefits of joint promotion with organisations in your area.

Ruthanne Baxter, Museum Services Manager for the University of Edinburgh, talks about all about sustainable models for running events, looking at ticketing, sponsorship, secondary income and more.

Navigate the world of evaluation, from what to ask and when, to how to use the results. Sheena Muncie, Director or ScotInform, will give you a few tips on how to make the process more fun and exciting for visitors.

When considering promoting your event or festival, we would encourage you to get in touch with your local regional marketing organisation and see whether they can help. We have worked with VisitScotland to provide a list of marketing contacts for each region which you can find in our advice section.


Gillian Simison
Grants Development Manager
Telephone: 0131 550 4115

Eithne Ní Chonghaile
Senior Communications Manager
Telephone: 0131 550 4123