City opens $500k funding programs

01 May 2019

City of Newcastle has opened this year’s grants and sponsorship funding round worth half a million dollars to support events and initiatives such as Newcastle’s first homegrown comedy festival.

As the opening night of the four-day Newcastle Comedy festival nears, the City invites community groups keen to stage events in the next financial year to apply for $280,000 in funding under its Event Sponsorship Program (ESP).

The inaugural rib tickler was awarded more than $15,000 under last year’s ESP to deliver a barrel of laughs at Civic Theatre, pubs and live venues across the City from Thursday 23 May.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes with Newcastle Comedy Festival crew (bottom left) Chris Wedlock,
(top left) Andrew Milos, (top right) Alan Parry and (bottom right) Grant Gibbons

Festival director Andrew Milos, of the aptly named Big Dog Pod, said the funding was crucial to getting a locally produced event off the ground.

“I’m really glad we’ve got the backing behind us to do this because if I didn’t do it then someone from Sydney would have,” he said.

“It’s helped give us some breathing room to secure local comedy acts, such as Raw finalist Cameron James, and we’ve been able to approach second year sound engineering students from Newcastle University to help us out.

The ESP, applications for which are now open, provides funding for Community Events, Major Community Events, Major Destination Events, Commercial Events and Business Events. More than 35 events were sponsored under last year’s program, extending from local community based festivals through to international competitions such as the Port to Port Mountain Bike event.

The ESP will be followed by another $210,000 worth of grant funding through Economic Development ($70,000) Community ($60,000) and Recreational Facilities ($80,000) grant programs over the next few months.

Triple J Raw Comedy finalist Cameron James will be a local hit at the upcoming comedy festival

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the grants open the door for new ventures and groups to provide a welcome community contribution, or for existing organisations to build on their previous success.

“It’s the aim of the grant funding to support local talent and community groups as they evolve into successful organisations delivering outcomes year-in, year-out,” the Lord Mayor said.

"Last year's funding across our range of sponsorship and grant programs has contributed to projects with a direct expenditure of $1.25 million and provided support for business growth and employment while encouraging innovation, community capacity building, placemaking and developing the visitor economy.

“I know in speaking with the organisers of the Newcastle Comedy Festival that they have big plans to grow the local comedy scene so it’s very important that we help them.”

Fore more information on the City’s sponsorship grants, visit