Northern Ireland

Musicians and bands to receive £395,000 to replace worn-out instruments

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has announced the 43 funding awards totalling £395,000.

Comber Brass Band is one of 23 bands which has been given funding to buy new instruments
Comber Brass Band is one of 23 bands which has been given funding to buy new instruments

Almost £400,000 of funding will help musicians across Northern Ireland replace worn-out instruments and purchase new ones.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has announced the grants to help increase the quality of music making.

A total of 43 funding awards worth £395,000 have been made through capital funding from the Department for Communities.

Individual musicians, bands and professional and non-professional performing groups will benefit.


The bands strand of the programme was created to support bands based in Northern Ireland, which are formally constituted, including accordion, brass, flute, pipe, wind and concert bands.

Comber Brass Band was one of 23 bands awarded funding.

For more than 120 years the band has played a role in the local community, performing at competitions and events across Ards and North Down.

In September 2022, the youth band was formed, helping to secure the sound of brass bands for future generations.

Their grant of £10,000 will support the purchase of two new bass and baritone instruments.

The professional and non-professional performing groups category was open to choirs and orchestras, community music groups, musical societies, primary and post primary schools and youth groups.

Six awards were made through this strand. Among those awarded funding was the Belfast Ensemble, an award-winning, Belfast-based collective which creates opera and theatre productions.

Their award of £16,178 will enable them to purchase a Yamaha keyboard glockenspiel, a very rare instrument not available to hire anywhere in Northern Ireland.

The Individual Professional Artists strand  of the programme was designed to provide funding for high-profile professional musicians to purchase quality instruments that are central to their performing career.

Songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and comedienne Ursula Burns was awarded £7,500 to purchase a Dusty Strings Harp. This rare harp fuses Celtic and Paraguayan techniques.

Gilly Campbell, joint director of arts development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “With much appreciated capital investment from the Department of Communities, the Arts Council is delighted to announce this funding through the musical instruments programme.

“This important scheme will help support solo musicians, bands and musical groups buy or replace the instruments they need to fulfil their performance potential.

“Northern Ireland has a fine history of musicianship, one which is celebrated all over the world.

“This funding announcement will go a long way in supporting that legacy, benefiting many performers across a broad range of genres including classical, jazz, traditional, contemporary and electronic music.”