30th November 2023
Festive Funding

Christmas and New Year


Christmas and New Year – Our office is open until Wednesday the 23rd but we won’t be processing any new work from Friday 18th through to Monday January 4th.

A big thank you to all the artists we have worked with throughout the year – we look forward to working with you all in 2021.

A wee update on our previous post about the Hardship Fund – the online application portal will close to applicants at midday on 18th December and will reopen at midday on 5th January 2021.

The Hardship Funds for Creative Freelancers aims to support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the loss of income as a result of the COVID – 19 pandemic.

For more information please visit: Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers

We hope everyone stays safe and well in these difficult times.

Very best Christmas wishes to you all

from the Birnam Team.


Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers


The Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers reopened on Tuesday 10 November. The fund aims to support freelance creative professionals working in the arts and creative sector in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty due to the loss of income as a result of COVID-19.

It offers a one-off monetary contribution to those who are most deeply impacted and disadvantaged by the cancellation of work as a result of the emergency situation.

All applicants must be based in Scotland and must be able to demonstrate they were working and making income as a freelance creative professional before lockdown began (in March 2020).

The Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers is open to:

Freelance professionals whose work has direct creative outcomes. This can include (but is not limited to) a visual artist, a writer or maker of poetry, prose or fiction, a playwright, actor or theatre- maker, a comedian, dancer, musician, craft maker or designer.

Freelance professionals whose work directly supports the making and presentation of creative work including events. This can include (but is not limited to) a theatre producer, a lighting designer, a gig promoter, an independent curator or creative producer.

For more information please visit: Creative Scotland: hardship-fund-for-creative-freelancers

Awards Awesome Fabulous

Nominations open for MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards


Public Nominations open for MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2020. Nominations are invited for the following awards:

  1. Music Tutor of the Year, sponsored by Creative Scotland
  2. Gaelic Singer of the Year, sponsored by The Highland Society of London
  3. Album of The Year, sponsored by Birnam CD
  4. Up & Coming artist of the Year, sponsored by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  5. Event of the Year
  6. Community Music Project of the Year, sponsored by Greentrax Recordings
  7. Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year, sponsored by Traditional Music and Song Association (TMSA)
  8. Trad Video of the Year, sponsored by Threads of Sound
  9. Online Performance of 2020, sponsored by Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust
  10. Services to Gaelic Award, sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig
  11. Original Work of the Year, sponsored by PRS for Music
  12. Trad Music in the Media, sponsored by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
  13. Musician of the Year, sponsored by the University of the Highlands and Islands

The nomination stage closes on Sunday 18th October.

For more information and to nominate please visit: MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2020



New Music Support Fund for Folk In Crisis


New Music Support Fund for Folk In Crisis Launches In Scotland To Help Musicians and Music Production Professionals. Stonehaven Folk Club has teamed up with Hands Up For Trad to start up a fund to help support Folk musicians and music production staff living in Scotland during the crisis.

The Folk Club is providing 20 grants of £250 to help towards living expenses during this period when people are unable to work. It’s hoped that further donations from other organisations and the public will help the fund grow.

Stonehaven Folk Club celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017 and has twice been voted Club of the Year at the Trad Awards. Through this initiative, the club hopes to be able to help some of the fantastic Folk talent in Scotland get through the next few months and hopefully stay as performing artists.

For more information, to support the project and/or to apply for a grant please visit: Hands Up For Trad.


PRS Open Fund for Music Creators


The PRS Open Fund for Music Creators supports the development of songwriters and composers of all genres and backgrounds who are at different stages of their career. The deadline for applications is 6pm on 5th October 2020.

The fund, which offers grants of up to £5,000, can support projects by songwriters, composers, or artists, bands, producers and performers who are writing their own music or commissioning others.

The project must fulfil three funding priorities:

  • To support the creation, performance and promotion of outstanding new music in any genre.
  • To enable the UK’s most talented music creators to realise their potential
  • To inspire audiences.

For more information please visit: prsfoundation.com


Funding Music

Help Musicians – Do It Differently Fund now open


Help Musicians – Do It Differently Fund now open for applications. The third round of the Covid-adapted Do It Differently Fund offers musicians a vital package of support to further their creative output, build their business skills and explore ways to maintain their wellbeing during this challenging time.

Fund awardees receive a grant of £3,000 to fulfil their chosen project and bespoke 1-on-1 business guidance with some of the UK music industry’s leading experts. Working with the British Association For Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM), the package also provides health consultations and online tools for creating healthy practises. In addition, each awardee will receive fully subsidised Pro Membership to the Featured Artists Coalition.

The deadline for submitting applications is 14th September.

For more information please visit: helpmusicians.org.uk



SAY Award 2020 – open for submissions


SAY Award 2020 – open for submission. The Scottish Album of the Year Award 2020 is open for submissions for Scottish Albums released between 1st April 2019 and 31st May 2020.

Since its inauguration in 2012, The SAY Award has grown to become Scotland’s most popular and prestigious music prize. The award covers all genres of music with previous longlist titles covering rock, alternative, traditional, hip-hop, folk, classical, dubstep, reggae, jazz and pop.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, The SAY Award campaign will go digital this year for the first time ever. In line with Government guidelines and with audience and artists’ safety at the forefront, The SAY Award’s live events will move online this year, meaning music fans across the country will have the chance to be part of the traditionally exclusive final award ceremony. All over the world, the music industry is striving to ascertain how to operate in this new normal, as the ramifications of the massive economic and cultural impacts continue to be felt. The SAY Award is committed to providing Scottish artists and music fans with an inspiring campaign which embodies the passion and resolute nature of Scotland’s ever evolving music scene.

The SAY Award ceremony will be broadcast on Thursday 29 October 2020, with more details to be announced. The winning artist will pick up a £20,000 cash prize, with the 9 runners up each being awarded £1,000. Each Shortlisted artist will also receive an exclusively designed piece of artwork from The SAY Award Design Commission.

The deadline for submitting an album is 31st July 2020.

For more information please visit: https://www.sayaward.com/

Awards Awesome

BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2021


Applications are open for the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2021. Applicants between the ages of 16 and 27, either a singer or instrumentalist, are asked to submit audio and video playing traditional Scottish Music.

A panel of judges will review all entries and select a shortlist of 12 entrants by early July.  The semi-finals are currently due to take place in October and from that, 6 finalists will perform on Sunday 31st January 2021 as part of Celtic Connections Festival**.

The prize will consist of:

  • A recording session with BBC Scotland in Glasgow
  • An opportunity to perform at the Scots Trad Music Awards.
  • One year’s membership of Musicians Union.

All 6 finalists will receive one year’s membership of the TMSA and the opportunity to take part in the annual TMSA Young Trad Tour.

The deadline for entry is Midnight on the 25th of June 2020

For more information please visit BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician



GDMT 2020 Performance Award Funding


The GDMT 2020 Performance Award Funding is open to self-employed, professional Scottish traditional musicians who have limited savings and require some financial assistance – successful applicants will receive an award of £250.

The Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust (GDMT) was formed, as a tribute to Gordon, following his tragic death in 2005. The Trust aims to preserve and build on Gordon Duncan’s legacy by funding and supporting young traditional musicians.

In addition to the application form, applicants are asked to supply a 5-minute video of them performing exciting and cheery music, including one of Gordon Duncan’s tunes.  All applicants will be considered by the GDMT Musical sub-Group and if successful the Trust will also post the video performance on their YouTube channel and showcase the performance in the Gallery section of the website. GDMT asks that in return, the successful applicants also share GDMT links across their own networks.

To be eligible to apply you must be over 18 years of age and a self-employed, full-time professional musician who plays Scottish traditional music either in a solo capacity or in a group or band and you must be financially dependent on your musicianship

For more information please visit: https://www.gordonduncan.co.uk/2020-awards/


Coronavirus Support and Information for Musicians


Coronavirus Support and Information for Musicians – For musicians based in Scotland the Traditional Music Form has compiled a very useful resource which provides information on a wide range of topics. For example, funding/financial help via Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary fund, Musicians’ Union Coronavirus Hardship fund, PRS Emergency Relief fund, Help Musicians: Coronavirus Hardship fund. Mental health support and links including Help Musicians: Music Minds Matter campaign, MITC (Music Industry Therapist Collective) Guide to Anxiety Relief & Self Isolation. It also details various creative ideas, for example, Hands Up for Trad: A Guide to hosting a live concert from your living room.

There are currently 2 surveys being undertaken across Scotland:

The Scottish Music Industry Association is gathering information from as many businesses and music practitioners working in Scotland as possible in relation to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Culture Counts: COVID-19 Impact Survey is for organisations and individuals in Scotland’s arts, screen heritage & creative industries. The survey results will help Culture Counts to communicate the needs of the sector due to the impact of Covid -19, to decision-makers in government and in parliament. The survey is open until May 2020.

For links to the surveys and for more information please visit:


UK wide support is provided via the https://www.coronamusicians.info/  website which is a collaboration between various organisations including Help Musicians UK and the Musicians’ Union. It aims to be a central source of support and advice for all musicians during the coronavirus period. It provides information and links covering the following areas:

Government advice, Money worries, Legal / business advice, Health issues, Mental health, Creative development, Working online and other helpful information.

We hope you all keep healthy and safe in these worrying times.