Strategic Events and Festivals (SEF) Fund

Round 4 closed for applications at midday 6th December 2021.

We appreciate that because of Covid 19 Scottish Government guidance and legislation is subject to change, thus making it challenging for event organisers to plan ahead in any detail or certainty. Argyll and Bute Council is committed to supporting our event sector and we understand that the format of events may well be subject to change. We will work closely with successful applicants and will aim to be as flexible as possible given the need to respond to the situation as it develops.

For further advice and support for event organisations is available on Event Scotland's website here.

The Strategic Events and Festivals Fund (SEF)- 1st April 2022 to 31st March 2023

The Scottish Government has identified tourism and events as one of Scotland's most important industries, helping to create wealth and jobs and build upon our strong international reputation. The Argyll and Bute Economic Strategy and the recently published Economic Recovery Plan identifies the importance of the Council's role in supporting the growth of the creative industry including supporting events with national and international appeal. The proposed fund is open only to organisers who are intending to hold strategic events and festivals in Argyll and Bute, that is, events and festivals which contribute significantly to the culture, heritage and economy of Argyll and Bute whilst reaching a national/international audience.

A total budget of £150,614 has been allocated for strategic events and festivals taking place between 1st April 2022 and 31st March 2023 by Argyll and Bute Council. Applicants should note that applications to the SEF Fund will be considered and assessed through a competitive process. Based on the previous rounds of funding, it is anticipated that Round 4 (spend between 1st April 2022 – 31st March 2023) will be oversubscribed. Requests should be kept to a minimum value, and no grant request should be greater than 20% of the total cost of the event.

In order to maximise the limited budget and to demonstrate best value for the public purse, it is anticipated that most applicants will seek between £2,500 and £5,000 to support the cost of their event. In exceptional cases, consideration will however be given to applications for larger requests, and should you wish to apply for over £5,000 a substantial justification and substantial evidence in support of your application will be required.

Consideration will be given to funding requests of between £5,001 and £15,000 where applicants are able to show that their event (using pre-Covid-19 figures) was worth between £150,000 and £1million to the local economy, or are able to demonstrate that they would be able to increase the capacity of the event with funds to support a specific item of additional activity/infrastructure, such as a new tent, or generator etc. In this case, the applicant will need to show how they expect this extra activity/item will help to sustain the event for the long-term.

Support above the expected upper limit (as described above) may also be considered where the event is able to demonstrate a unique offer that is not replicated elsewhere in Argyll and Bute and will be of significant scale. Consideration will be given to providing funding of between £15,001 and £30,000 to events for which it can be demonstrated that the event or festival will usually have attracted 10,000+ people in previous years (i.e. using pre-Covid-19 figures) and is worth over £1million to the local economy (based on figures from previous years). It is expected that funding requests for such large-scale exceptional events will be accompanied by substantial evidence to show precisely why such levels of funding are required. Grant is capped at £30,000.

Awards will be available from one grant pot. Please note applicants can only submit one application for funding per event. Grant funding will be awarded based on bids that are successfully scored against the criteria stated in the Guidance Notes and where sufficient funding is available. The SEF Round 4 is a discretionary fund and, as such, please note, there is no appeals process. Applications from successful applicants from Round 3 who had to cancel their Event/Festival because of Covid 19 restrictions, and were unable to benefit from SEF grant, will score an additional point due to the inability to host events during 2021.

Please note this grant application does not supersede the requirement to separately apply for licenses or permissions needed for your event.

Please also note that, as an Event or Festival organiser you must complete an Events Pack ahead of any Argyll and Bute Event or Festival taking place. This pack covers all of your responsibilities including: Covid 19 Risk Assessment, Event Risk Assessment, Environmental Health, Licensing, Special Permissions, as well as Contingency Planning and Site Clean-up.  You can request this pack from: 

There will only be one call for applications within this period and all applications must be completed in full and on time (including supporting documentation) submitted to the email address: by midday, Monday 6th December 2021, otherwise the application cannot be considered for funding.

Submission Process

There will be one call for applications advertised on the Argyll and Bute Council website.

If you have any enquires related to the templates or the grant application process, please see guidance below or alternatively please email and a member of the team will respond as quickly as possible.


Events and Festivals Strategic Fund timeline

  • 22nd October 2021 - Applications open at Midday
  • 6th December 2021 - Applications close at Midday
  • December - February 2021/22– Assessment process period
  • February 2022 - Applicants notified of decision



In order to be able to apply, you must demonstrate that your organisation:

• is a not for profit distribution organisation;
• is properly constituted;
• has a bank account in the name of the organisation;
• has provided evidence of affordability and, where appropriate, match funding;
• is open and accessible to the community that it serves; and,
• demonstrates it is an inclusive organisation that will involve local people.

If you are sub-contracting the event management to a third party company, you must demonstrate that you have an up to date contract, and a copy of the terms and conditions will be required in support of your application.

It is expected that proof of compliance with all relevant Covid-19 legislation, as it affects the Events industry, will be able to be provided should this be asked for.

Ineligible Submissions

Applicants should note the following:

Only fully completed applications will be considered: Where an applicant cannot, or does not, provide all required information including up-to-date information, their application will be considered ineligible and will not progress to assessment stage.

Debts to the council: Applicants will be asked to declare that there are no outstanding debts to the council, beyond usual terms, in relation to their organisation.

Please provide answers to all questions and provide all supporting evidence by the deadline of midday Monday 6th December 2021  to the email, otherwise the application cannot be considered for funding.

Assessment Criteria

The criteria below applies to all application types unless otherwise stated.


All applications should meet the following principles:

  • The proposed event/festival location must be within the Argyll and Bute area;
  • The proposed event/festival must be held between the dates of 1st April 2022 to the 31st March 2023

The SEF Fund aims to support events and festivals that have a strategic impact on the area. It will therefore fund events and festivals that can attract visitors from outwith the area and bring inward investment to the area; also those which demonstrate a good range of multiplier effects for the local economy and which market to a quantifiable target of our region visitors.  The fund is also looking to support those that can demonstrate a good return on public investment (leverage) and can demonstrate the economic, cultural, environmental, social and promotional value of the event to Argyll and Bute.  It is also worth noting that grant awards must not be used for ineligible costs such as the purchase of alcohol or gambling.



Strategic Fit

Evidence event objectives align to the Council’s Outcome Improvement Plan 2013-2023.

Demonstrate fit with the National Events Strategy.

Define clear event objectives and vision.


Demonstrate that a significant percentage of attendees will be from outside Argyll and Bute.

Demonstrate that your event will attract attendees or participants from outside Scotland.

Economic Impact

Evidence expected visitor numbers.

Evidence visitor numbers for previous years.

Demonstrate the anticipated economic value of your event to the local economy.

Cultural/Sporting Event Impact

Evidence opportunities for the Community to get involved in the event.

Demonstrate the event is supporting an island community.

Show that the event will be held in an Area of Disadvantage using Scottish Index  of Multiple Deprivation data (SIMD Deciles 2020 map data)

Demonstrate that you have the appropriate PVG checks in place.


Demonstrate the percentage of your event marketing that is targeted towards an international audience.

Demonstrate the percentage of your event marketing that is targeted towards a national audience, ie. outwith Scotland.

Demonstrate the percentage of your event marketing that is targeted towards the rest of Scotland, ie. outwith Argyll and Bute.

Provide evidence of how many years your event has been running.

Provide evidence of financial stability through provision of full audited accounts for the past 2 years 2019-2012 and 2020-2021.

Provide a budget breakdown for the event and evidence of match funding.

Provide details on how you intend to manage any risk, including COVID and a copy of your contingency plan.

Other event funding / support

Please note if you are applying to enhance your event, funding may be available from Event Scotland. Event Scotland funding is provided for supporting event and festival organisers. It can also be offered for marketing and PR costs in order to grow the brand and reach new target audiences as well as enhancing media coverage. Funding may also be offered to improve the visitor experience of the event. Please find out more at:

Event Scotland can also provide support directly and through external organisations. Here are some useful tools and resources to help you plan your event:

Please find a list of publications below, which you may find helpful when completing your application.

If your Event/Festival is a smaller, more locally-focused event and does not have the greater strategic focus described above then you may wish to consider making an application to the Council's Supporting Communities Fund. The Supporting Communities Fund for 2021/22 will open up towards the end of the year. Anyone wishing to express an interest can email and they will be notified when the fund opens.