How to Apply for a CIRAA Groundbreaker Grant

In April, the CIRAA (Canadian Independent Recording Artists Association) announced their new Groundbreaker Grant program to assist performing artists by awarding $100 micro-grants per live gig played.  When you’re a working musician every bit counts, so I decided to throw my name in the hat.

I’ve heard it said that the every Canadian musician’s dream is to break even. True, it can be hard to make a living as an artist, but it’s not impossible. When you’re performing and touring, you’re counting on ticket and merch sales to cover your costs, on the road and back home. You’re also submitting your setlist to SOCAN – but that process, though completely worth it, has such a long time delay, it doesn’t help you when you just need gas money to get you to the next town.

The CIRAA started the Groundbreaker Grant program to help bridge this gap. Twenty $100 micro-grants are awarded monthly to artists who have played a live show during the previous month (to a $1200 yearly max). The recipients are chosen by lottery draw from all eligible applications. Applications are open from the 1st-10th of each month for gigs played in the previous month – so during this August window, only gigs played in July are eligible.

The application process is remarkably simple and quick.

Become a member – it’s free and easy – at ciraa.com/register.php.

From your account, click My Grant Application.

Enter the gig details – venue, type of performance (local, tour, album release) and date. Choose a gig image to upload – gig poster, newsclipping – and hit submit.


The names of the 20 artists drawn from the lottery selection are announced via Twitter at 4pm on the next business day after the 10th of each month. You know I’ll be keeping my eye on @theciraa next week.

If you’re a performing musician in Canada be sure to apply – as they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it!