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Home / Communities / Festivals / Application Process


Application Process

The Mass Festivals Program is a program designed to provide funding to help festival programmers meet the needs of producing, promoting, and developing audiences.

The goals of the Festivals Program is to:

  • Celebrate the arts, humanities and sciences through public programming.
  • Create a sense of place.
  • To offer diverse arts and cultural experiences.
  • Support those working in the humanities and interpretive sciences.
  • Showcase the Commonwealth’s geographic and cultural diversity.

How to Apply

Applications are reviewed by Mass Cultural Council staff and granted on a “first-received, first-reviewed” basis. Regional diversity will be taken into consideration.

  1. Read the program guidelines below.


  2. Listen to an informational webinar and check out the sample application (PDF).

  3. Create an organizational profile to access the online application.
    (Please note: Usernames/Passwords created for previously-submitted CIP-Gateway, Cultural Districts, SerHacer, YouthReach, and/or Cultural Facilities Fund applications can all be used.)

  4. Complete and submit the online application beginning on Jan. 5, 2019 at 10am (ET), and no later than Mar 15, 2019 at 5pm (ET).

Questions? Contact Lisa Simmons, Program Manager, at 617-858-2707.

Program Guidelines


  • Based in and managed by a Mass-based entity.
  • 501(c)(3) status in good standing, or fiscal agent with 501 (c)(3) status in good standing.  The fiscal agent must be incorporated in Mass or registered as a foreign corporation doing business in Mass.
  • Be an annual or bi-annual celebration.
  • Occur over consecutive sequence of curated events within a certain time period – Occur no less than 4 hours in one day and not to exceed 14 consecutive days.
  • Have an identifiable arts, humanities or science theme.
  • Employ or showcase MA artists, humanists, or scientists.
  • Be open to the public and include some aspect of free programming.
  • Be in good standing with other Mass Cultural Council grant programs.

Municipal departments and boards are eligible to apply and can serve as a fiscal agent.  Such as Local Cultural Councils, Libraries, recreational departments.

 Ineligible festivals include:

  • Organization’s season or seasonal series of presented or produced work.
  • Sports and recreation activities and related events.
  • Virtual events.
  • Competitions and award ceremonies.
  • Scholarship programs, pageants, conferences, symposiums, or seminars.
  • Trade fairs, events of a commercial nature, consumer shows.
  • Events that are organized solely as fundraisers, or that contribute to endowments.
  • showcases or recitals for individual schools, including: fairs, bazaars, fetes, or open house events.
  • Festivals organized for or by political parties
  • Parties, private celebrations or events not open to the general public.

Award Amount and Funding Period

Grant are awarded in the amount $500.

Funding period for festivals taking place between March 1 and August 31, 2019. Expenses must be incurred by June 30, 2019.

Applicants may only submit one application for funding per grant cycle. during this grant cycle.

Eligible Expenses

The grant award must be used for the festival.  Funds for the Spring/Summer Grant Cycle must be encumbered on or before June 30, 2019.

  • Fees paid to artists, performers and invited  guests
  • Production costs including equipment rentals. such as but not limited to: sound, visual, stage and rigging.
  • Accessibility services such as:
    • Visual enhancements
    • Interpreters
    • Listening guides
    • Translations of promotional materials
  • Audience surveys, research or economic impact studies related to festival activities
  • Marketing and promotional materials.

Ineligible expenses include:

  • Food and beverages including alcohol.
  • Non – arts and cultural festival components (such as rides, games, booths, fireworks)

Review Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by Mass Cultural Council staff and granted on a “first-received, first-reviewed” basis. Regional diversity will be taken into consideration at time of funding.

Successful applicants must demonstrate significant community support through collaborations, partnerships, and sponsorships (in kind or cash based).

Application Timeline

Festivals Taking Place March 1- August 31, 2019

Application Opens January 5, 2019 – 10am ET
Preliminary Funding Decisions Begin March 1, 2019
Application Closes March 15, 2019 – 5pm ET
Notification April, 2019

Spring/Summer 2019 festivals grant recipients are required to complete an online final report by September 30, 2019. Applications submitted after the deadline date up until April 28, 2019 may be considered if funding is available.

Failure to complete the Final Report will result in loss of eligibility for the Festivals Program and all other direct Mass Cultural Council grant programs until the Final Report has been submitted.

The Mass Cultural Council has the right to withhold, reduce, or cancel grants if a project:

  • Fails to comply with the terms of the grant contract
  • Does not properly credit Mass Cultural Council support
  • Misses deadlines for grant reports

Accessibility and Non-Discrimination

Mass Cultural Council is happy to offer alternative formats, auxiliary aids, and services necessary so that any individual can participate in the Mass Cultural Council’s programs and services. Contact our staff for help.

Mass Cultural Council is committed to ensure that all personnel and service programs, policies and practices will be formulated and conducted in a manner which will ensure equal access for all people and prevent discrimination not only as a matter of law, but also as a policy designed to encourage the participation of all segments of the Commonwealth’s population in Mass Cultural Council programs and services.

Mass Cultural Council is dedicated to creating a workplace, programs, and services that welcome, respect and value people of all races, color, age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religions, creeds, ancestry, national origin, disability and veteran status. The Mass Cultural Council will not fund any organization or program that discriminates on the basis of these attributes. We strive to reflect diversity in all activities, programs and services removing any barriers to accessibility. The Mass Cultural Council and its grantees are expected to be in compliance with:

Mass Cultural Council’s grantees sign a contract certifying that they will comply with ADA and Section 504. The Mass Cultural Council aims to help grantees understand their obligations and recognize the opportunities that increasing access can provide for both the public and the grantee.

Reconsideration Policy

An applicant may request reconsideration of a Mass Cultural Council decision on his or her application if the applicant can demonstrate that the Mass Cultural Council failed to follow published application and review procedures. Dissatisfaction with the results of a review does not constitute grounds for reconsideration, however.

The first step in the reconsideration process is to consult with the appropriate Program Staff to discuss the review process that concluded in Mass Cultural Council’s decision. If the applicant wishes to pursue a reconsideration, a request must be sent to the Mass Cultural Council’s Executive Director, in writing, within 30 days of the Mass Cultural Council’s notification to the applicant of its decision. All requests will go to the Mass Cultural Council’s board for reconsideration no earlier than its next scheduled board meeting.