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€2.6 million government fund for off-peak hours live events in pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, galleries & cafés

€2.6 million government fund for off-peak hours live events in pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, galleries & cafés


The government Culture Minister Catherine Martin has announced a new €2.6 million fund specifically aimed at supporting off-peak entertainment in venues across Ireland.

The Night-Time Economy Support Scheme (NTESS) is aimed at increasing footfall in Irish cities and towns later in the evening and night-time, and pubs, nightclubs, cafés and other suitable licensed and unlicensed premises may apply for funding of cultural activities (minimum number of 4 events).

A maximum grant of €10,000 is available per application, and events events such as music, including electronic music, comedy, dance, literature, poetry, theatrical productions, plays, craft and art/photographic exhibitions will be funded.

The Scheme will open for applications at 1pm on 21 June 2022 and it will remain open until 1pm on Friday 22 July 2022 or until the fund is exhausted, whichever occurs first.

The aim is to promote an increase in footfall in cities, towns and villages as well as providing artists with paying gigs and customers with a more alternative, diverse and inclusive night-time offering.

The government says the fund support of 2 recommendations in the Report of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce. PDF Link.

The scheme seems aimed at smaller venues who want to pay local artists to perform generally pre-11pm. It needs to be said once again, that the government really needs to remove the special exemption orders (SEOs) that were allowed to be brought back in recently, that cost €410 per night to open after these regular hours if it is serious about a “more alternative, diverse and inclusive night-time offering.”

“I want to support and develop a thriving environment at night in our cities and rural towns. This scheme aims to attract people in to our towns and cities later in the evening and night time by offering a range of cultural activities, in a variety of venues. It will also support businesses in trialling events during the earlier part of the week when it’s typically quieter with a view to developing a more long-term sustainable offering in the Night-Time Economy.”

“I have also listened to the sector in relation to the lack of venues for artists and performers, especially new and emerging acts. This scheme will aim to provide those opportunities for new acts, by supporting the smaller venues such as pubs and cafés to trial out new cultural activities and provide those much needed spaces and paying gigs to artists.”

Minister Martin

Applications are invited under 2 separate strands:

Strand A: Licensed premises –pubs, restaurants and wine bars, nightclubs and other suitable licensed premises that operate in the Evening and Night-Time Economy, who want to trial a series of events/cultural activities (minimum of 4 events) during off peak times from Monday to Thursday (excluding weekends) from 6pm onwards.

Strand B: Unlicensed premises – cafés, including cafés that may have their premises in a retail outlet, dry bars, local galleries and other suitable non-licensed premises, who want to trial a series of events/cultural activities (minimum of 4 events) in the later evening or night-time hours from 6pm, with a commitment to open until at least 9pm in the evening, from Monday to Sunday.

The entertainment/cultural events must be of a participative or performance nature and can include but not limited to the following:

  • live music, including electronic music, performance
  • comedy nights
  • dance either performed or a participative event
  • literature or poetry nights
  • theatrical productions or plays
  • craft events
  • art/photographic exhibitions

Guidelines for the new scheme are available

Applications can be made for the new scheme through the dedicated application website from today.

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