It was just last week that WA was naming its Song of the Year in the annual WAM Awards, and handing 0ut $40,000 worth of prizes to a bunch of winners. But even for those lucky few, living on the far side of the country is always going to make it that bit tougher, with the flights over for an East Coast tour leaving a big hole burnt into their pockets.

To give WA bands a hand, local brewery Otherside Brewing Co. has announced that entries are open for the inaugural $5000 ‘Tapped By Otherside’ Australian Touring Grant, intended to help a deserving local act get out of WA’s relative isolation and onto more live stages.

The brewery has already awarded a $2,500 International Development Grant to local favourites Koi Child in March, which helped the band head over to Austin, Texas for SXSW, and now the larger grant is intended to help a touring-ready band take on a national headline tour.

It’s no surprise that Otherside is trying to give a leg-up to musos, either, as it’s owned by Sunset Events, the crew who’ve long been involved with WA festival Southbound, West Coast Blues& Roots, and the Perth leg of St Jerome’s Laneway Festival.

Otherside say that the successful outcome following the first grant prompted them to introduce the second, national equivalent, and Koi Child expressed just what the grant meant to them.

“These funds were essential in getting us to SXSW and the US, giving us a platform to take our career to the next level,” Koi Child’s Shannon Cruz Patterson said, with their manager Harris Waters adding that “touring is a fundamental tool in the continual development of a musician’s growth.”

“The ability to showcase original music and perform live to new audiences can generate multiple opportunities and experiences to assist in the development of an artist’s career,” Waters added.

Otherside Brewing Co.’s Julian Tompkin believes that he’s witnessed less and less money being made available in support of Western Australian musicians.

“Having been a part of the music and culture business for many years, we recognise the decline in funding available to musicians in Australia,” he said. “The biggest obstacle for emerging bands and artists today is the prohibitive cost of touring – which is now the most essential means in developing a viable music career.

“Otherside is committed to backing emerging talent and helping them to take their music to wider audiences.”

That audience only includes Western Australian acts right now, but Otherside are hoping to expand Tapped By Otherside to become Australia-wide in 2018, and possibly to include “other creative platforms”.

For now, local acts can enter via the website, with applications closing on June 16. The winner will be picked by a panel of experts, and announced on June 30, with five grand on the way soon afterwards.