Manchester International Festival to offer £10,000 to local music makers

MIF Sounds initiative will provide financial help and development opportunities to help the creation of new music and support the sector

Manchester International Festival has announced the return of its MIF Sounds programme, pledging £10,000 to support ten Greater Manchester music industry creatives and practitioners to develop new projects.

Each successful applicant will receive up to £1,000 whilst also benefiting from peer-to-peer support, access to MIF’s Talent Development activity and networking opportunities.

Applicants are not restricted in what they can apply for, from recording music, presenting a gig, releasing a record or starting a new label imprint.

People from all areas of the music industry in Greater Manchester are encouraged to apply.

Photo: Nell Whittaker

Launched in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, the first round of MIF Sounds supported RnB artists, a punk band, record labels, rappers and poets to create new music, a DJ collective to run production workshops for women, non-binary and trans musicians, a sound artist collective to produce an installation in a church, and the launch of a new gig night promoting the best in Northern talent.

Those supported through MIF Sounds have included All Hands on Deck, Balraj Samrai, Jacob Connor, Loose Articles, Lone Taxidermist, OneDa, SAF-S2E, Sprechen, Vzion, and more.

“I’m pleased to announce another round of MIF Sounds support, open to everyone who makes music happen in Manchester,” said Jane Beese, head of music at MIF.

“MIF is committed to helping rebuild our sector following the impact of COVID, in which tens of thousands of jobs have been impacted.

“We encourage everyone involved in the local music scene to apply, artists, technicians, promoters, venues, labels, managers and beyond we look forward to hearing all of your brilliant ideas and proposals.”

Photo: Louis Bever

Balraj Singh Samrai explains how the initiative helped him.

“The backing from MIF Sounds enabled me to commit to work outside of my comfort zone,” he said.

“There was support, feedback and encouragement from the rest of the Sounds cohort and MIF team throughout the creative process”.

On 23rd November, Balraj will release Someone Died Today, his work supported by MIF Sounds, which explores loss in a South Asian household during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The piece will be available to purchase on Bandcamp with money raised from sales going to Taraki, a non-profit working with Punjabi communities to reshape approaches to mental health.

People interested in MIF Sounds can attend an online meeting with MIF at 6.30pm on Monday 29th November to get advice from the selection panel on applying. Applications for MIF Sounds should be submitted by video or in writing by midday on Thursday 16th December at The successful applicants will be announced in January 2022.

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