A new funding lifeline will help the Margaret River Heart give back to the local music scene, with a series of Homegrown performances coming up. The program is part of the Heart’s forward planning as the management team compensate for a wildly changing entertainment market, thanks to COVID-19 and WA’s shifting border policies. General manager Nicky Hansen said the WA Government’s Regional Arts and Cultural Investment Program provided almost $135,000 for six multi-genre performances during 2021-22. “The venue will entrepreneur three-to-four Homegrown performances annually, where local musicians are paid to perform alongside professional music performances,” Ms Hansen said. The funding would decrease the venue’s reliance on interstate acts, with WA’s changing border protocols claiming this weekend’s Good Day Sunshine featuring Missy Higgins and The Waifs as their latest victim. March 26 and 27 will see the first Homegrown outing for the Heart, with professional touring act Kohesia in town for a night of Persian jazz. The second night will follow with a showcase of local performers, with the details still to be confirmed. Ms Hansen said Homegrown’s aim was to offer a wide range of local creatives the chance to strut their stuff in the company of professional mentors. “Focusing on local talent will help build new audiences, as we are sure community members will want to come and support their sons, daughters, nieces, and neighbours on the stage,” she said. “We are keen to connect with a community with a strong penchant for music and a strong desire to support locals on stage. “We’re also keen to strengthen the venue’s relationship with people with disabilities to improve their access to live performance and encourage their participation.” Residents with disabilities will be invited to inclusive engagement workshops with free tickets to performances, and disabled artists are asked to get in touch for performance options. Those performances were also planned to include workshops and exhibitions, allowing for further collaboration, Ms Hansen said. Artists from the jazz and world music scenes are encouraged to get in touch for the March event, while July will encompass folk music during the Cabin Fever festival, and classical music is scheduled for September. Similar dates were planned for next year. A musicians’ survey is live on the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River’s YourSay website. To get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9780 5294.