Mobility fund support for musicians


If you are planning a music tour but are unsure how to fund it, you can apply to Concerts SA’s Music Mobility Fund, which will select new projects to support in April.

This tour funding mechanism offers opportunities for professional South African musicians to undertake live music tours in South Africa as well as other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. The fund provides support to live music performances, collaborations and performance-based workshops.

Applications are now open for the first round of Music Mobility Fund disbursements this year.

The deadline for submissions is Sunday April 3, and tours should take place between late April and Sunday October 30.

Since it was initiated in 2013, the Music Mobility Fund has supported more than 70 tours and has featured artists such as Wendy Oldfield and Paul Hanmer, Ihashi Elimhlophe, Pops Mohamed and Dave Reynolds, Carlo Mombelli, Morayks and Thandi Ntuli.

These performances and projects have fanned out to Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, spanning genres from jazz to indigenous music, from folk to hip-hop and kwaito.

The fund is administered by Concerts SA, a joint South African/Norwegian project housed within the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) Foundation.

Working with musicians, promoters, venue owners and music sector stakeholders, the project aims to build a vibrant and viable live music circuit in southern Africa. It also seeks to develop an interest in and appreciation of live music by showcasing music performances and conducting workshops at schools.

Tananas guitarist Steve Newman says: “The Concerts SA Mobility Fund has been a blessing to touring musicians like me, enabling the trio to play around the country. Touring can be expensive and the Mobility Fund made this easier because they covered travel expenses, accommodation, food and hiring of extra sound gear. Peter and Carlo have been exposed to audiences along the coast including the Western Cape Garden Route and KZN. It is fairly easy to apply for Mobility Funding and once done, it becomes easier, especially for an independent artist not playing mainstream repertoire. I would encourage musicians wanting to tour to apply.”

Unlearning Ensemble leader, Sibusile Xaba, says: “As independent artists, touring is important for various reasons. Firstly it allowed us the opportunity to present our music in different countries, expanding the number of people who appreciate our music. Secondly, it is a great platform where independent artists are able to gain a chance in collaborating, sharing ideas, concepts, information and skills with fellow artists from different places, allowing one the opportunity to learn not only music, but humanity, culture, environment, agriculture, diversities, similarities, linguistics, history, justices and injustices, amongst many other elements which I believe contribute greatly in moulding the artist one is or becomes. Lastly, I feel it can help activate alternative spaces which can be used as ‘unconventional’ art spaces to either host art presentations, performances, exhibitions and even arts education.”

Designed to help musicians, music industry professionals and organisations build on already established domestic success and develop connections, markets and audiences for their work, the fund provides support towards travel and transportation, as well as per diems, material costs (hiring of backline and sound equipment), accommodation and visas.

Among the projects that may be financed are tours and concerts, including regional, national or provincial tours, as well as performances at festivals and showcases.

The Music Mobility Fund also funds artistic collaborations with merit among musicians based in different provinces of South Africa or SADC countries. Each project must be between four days and six months in duration.

For more information about the national and regional projects and application process, call 011 712 8417 or visit, or follow them @ConcertsSA on Twitter or like Concerts SA on Facebook.