Festival Hall has relaunched with concert promoter Live Nation seeking to reboot music bookings at the historic Melbourne venue.
It’s been home to countless gigs, ranging from The Beatles and Frank Sinatra to Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Mars Volta and everything in between. Chances are, if you’re a live music fan in Melbourne — you’ve been to Festival Hall.
Now live music is set to resonate once again within the iconic walls of Melbourne’s Festival Hall once again, with the reigns now held by Live Nation, who took over the management of the venue owned by Hillsong Corp. The US-based global touring company has reportedly signed a multi-year lease on the venue.
Officially re-launching in Melbourne on Thursday, 15 June, Live Nation Asia Pacific President Roger Field officially reopened the venue for the music industry, ready to welcome music lovers back to its hallowed halls.
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As a little refresher, Hillsong purchased the iconic Melbourne concert and sporting venue for $23 million back in 2020 (you can read about that here), causing an uproar from music fans, musicians and industry folk with protests and boycotts plaguing the venue ever since.
While live music hadn’t completely vanished from the venue, it certainly wasn’t to the level it was once known, with the likes of Uncaged Festival, The Kooks, Sticky Fingers, Chase Atlantic, Architects, Denzel Curry performing within the last 12 months.
Signifying a new chapter in the city’s cultural reawakening, now we’ll be seeing Festival Hall’s calendar return to what it once was, becoming home to both local, national and international artists, as well as feature events like boxing and wrestling, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
With the news bringing a renewed sense of hope and optimism to Melbourne’s music scene, the re-launch of the venue on Thursday featured an incredibly fitting performance from the Australian Rock Collective (ARC), including members of Powderfinger, Jet and You Am I, recreating the famed set list played by the one and only Beatles on the very same stage 59 years ago.
The songs were ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, ‘You Can’t Do That’, ‘All My Loving’, ‘She Loves You’, ‘Till There Was You’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, ‘This Boy’, and ‘Long Tall Sally’.
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Looking more to its history, Festival Hall construction was completed in 1915 (following two years under a boxing promoter) and served as a boxing, pro wrestling, and dancing venue for years. Following a fire in 1955, the venue was rebuilt to host a number of events as part of the 1956 Olympic Games.
Since that time, the 5000 capacity venue has hosted a number of iconic gigs including the aforementioned Beatles, Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra, to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis and Powderfinger over the years. In it’s later years, it also hosted the likes of London Grammar, Foals, 5 Seconds of Summer, Steel Panther, Queens of the Stone Age, Boy and Bear, Tame Impala, and Flume, among many, many others and has been used as a host to conferences, exhibitions and other large scale indoor events.
In 2018 the site was event granted permanent heritage protection, protecting it from demolition and development plans including the building of apartments on the site, then leading to its Hillsong sale in 2020.
“We are extremely excited to be delivering the next chapter of Festival Hall’s life, not only because it will help support the growing demand of shows that are coming down the pipeline across the industry, but also to put the iconic venue firmly back on the global live entertainment map,” Roger Field, Live Nation’s President of the Asia Pacific region, said back in March upon news of the lease.
“It’s a privilege to be part of an organisation that values the protection of existing heritage music assets and sees the importance that these venues play in the ongoing growth of the live entertainment sector and the communities they’re a part of. Our vision is to ensure that Festival Hall remains a cornerstone of the State’s live music scene for artists, industry, and fans alike.”
As part of Festival Halls’ return, Field also confirmed Boxing and Wrestling will return as regular events in the Hall. The Stage Door has now been named The Lionel Rose MBE Stage Door in his honour.
It’s happening. Melbourne’s Festival Hall is set to reclaim its position as a haven for live music, breathing life back into the city’s music scene.
Festival Hall is located at 300 Dudley Street, Melbourne. Head to the website here for all the upcoming events.