Summer Fund

Expressions of Interest now open

Public space is where we share our stories and values, and where we forge the ties that bind us. This summer, as we re-emerge and adapt, the NSW Government is supporting councils to activate local public spaces by running free, safe activations and events, creating more opportunities for people to connect.

The Summer Fund brings The Festival of Place to people right across the state, as part of the NSW Government’s efforts to support community wellbeing and economic recovery in our local centres.

About the program

Re-emerge, Celebrate and Engage

The Department is seeking expressions of interest from NSW councils to boost free, small-scale activations and events in public spaces in and around high streets in local centres. Every council in NSW can sign up for up to $10,000. This funding needs to contribute to free activations or events that enliven local public spaces from summer until the end of the Easter holidays on 18 April 2021.

The goals of the Summer Fund program are to:

  • Support community wellbeing by giving people opportunities to safely return to public spaces
  • Enliven public spaces in high streets within local centres through small-scale activations or events, contributing to The Festival of Place
  • Boost foot traffic and dwell time in local centres during the day and night, to help revitalise the local economy
  • Support engagement or employment of creative workers, food and beverage operators and producers

The funding can go towards free activations and events like outdoor markets, creative lighting shows or projections, micro-festivals, open-air theatre, talks, street parties, lawn libraries, performing arts or street entertainment.

Regional councils are encouraged to contact their Regional Arts Development Office, as there may be an opportunity for a partnership that can leverage funding available under Create NSW’s Regional Music Micro-Festival program.

How to sign up

Councils can sign up by completing a simple online form, in either December or January. Councils will only be able to sign up once.

  • Round 1 opens: 2 December 2020 (closed: 5pm, 14 December 2020)
  • Round 2 opens: 15 December 2020 (closes: 5pm, 22 January 2021)

A funding deed, containing the criteria below, will be issued to councils that have applied within seven days of when each round closes. Councils will need to sign and return to confirm the funding.

Sign up

Download a Summer Fund fact sheet and the commonly asked questions.

Councils will need to:

  • Provide details of the activation or event and an explanation of the impact of the Department’s contribution for inclusion on the Festival of Place website three weeks before it takes place
  • Invite their local NSW Member of Parliament to the activation or event
  • Within four weeks after the activation or event submit a completion report to the satisfaction of the Department, in order to receive the full funding as a one-off payment.


A webinar was held on Monday 7 December 2020, providing information about Summer Fund and opportunities for regional councils to partner with Regional Arts Development Organisations. This session was recorded and can be viewed below.

Webinar recording


Councils must meet all the below criteria:

  1. The program is open to all councils in NSW.
  2. Funds must be used to deliver one or more activations or events.
  3. Activations or events must be in public spaces in and around ‘high streets’ within local centres. The types of public spaces councils may seek to activate include streets, laneways, squares, plazas, parks, public facilities (such as libraries, art galleries and community centres), and car parks.
  4. Activations or events must be free to access, even if registrations are required for managing attendance.
  5. Funds may be used towards activations or activations that are already in planning, provided that councils explain how the funding will expand on what is already planned.
  6. Funds are not to be used on temporary or permanent infrastructure, public domain improvements or installation of public art, unless ancillary to the activation or event which the funding would go towards.
  7. Activations or events should benefit the business community and the creative and cultural sectors in the local government area.
  8. Any events must be COVID-Safe.
  9. Activations or events must be held between December 2020 and 18 April 2021.
  10. Councils must recognise NSW Government and The Festival of Place in any promotion and signage and confirm details for the activation(s) or event(s) (title, short description, image and what the funding is contributing towards) to the Department at least 3 weeks before the first activation or event is held.
  11. Councils should invite the local member to the activation(s) or event(s).
  12. Councils must submit a a completion report within 4 weeks of the final activation or event to the satisfaction of the Department, in order to receive the full funding as a one-off payment.

What funding is available for

  • Engaging artists, performers, musicians, or other creative workers
  • Event production, including tech providers, or arts companies to develop the program
  • Event infrastructure, including leasing of equipment
  • Any other service provided it contributes to delivering the activation(s) or event(s), except for marketing and promotion
  • To offset expenses of an existing and planned activation or event
  • Marketing and promotion

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