Funding, Organisations

Arts Council opens Musical Instruments for Bands Programme

31st August, 2023

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has opened applications to its Musical Instruments for Bands Programme. The funding awards are one strand of the Arts Council’s Musical Instruments Programme, an initiative established to increase the quality of music-making in Northern Ireland and made possible thanks to capital investment from the Department for Communities.

Bands can apply to the programme for grants of up to £10,000 to replace worn-out instruments and purchase new instruments. Particular priority will be given to applications which can demonstrate high quality musicianship; a commitment to training and musical education, particularly of young people; and a commitment to repertoire and technique development in relation to the band’s existing repertoire and technical standards.

The Arts Council welcomes applications from the widest possible range of organisations and from applicants whose projects benefit individuals categorised under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. In addition, this scheme is open to bands based in Northern Ireland, which are formally constituted. The following types of bands are eligible for this scheme:

  • Accordion Orchestra/Band (part, melody or marching)
  • Brass Band
  • Concert Band
  • Flute Band (part, melody or marching)
  • Pipe Band
  • Wind Band

Any other type of formally constituted organisation wishing to purchase musical instruments should apply to the Musical Instruments for Professional/Non-professional Performing Groups Programme. Further details are available at

Gilly Campbell, joint Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: 

With much appreciated capital investment from the Department for Communities, the Arts Council is delighted to reopen the Musical Instruments for Bands Programme. This  strand of the wider Arts Council’s Musical Instruments Programme has been specifically developed to support music in our communities by helping bands to purchase new instruments, with a particular focus on increasing the quality of musicianship, as well as training and development opportunities for members. Today’s announcement will be welcome news for bands, throughout Northern Ireland, who regularly come together to learn, perform and, most importantly, enjoy music as a part of a collective experience.”

Applications to the Musical Instruments for Bands Programme are now open on the Arts Council website and will close at 12noon on Monday 2nd October 2023. Applicants will be notified of decisions in November 2023. Full guidance notes, including details of eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found at Musical Instruments for Bands | Arts Council NI (