It’s one of Melbourne’s iconic music venues, hosting some of music’s biggest names since it was first opened back in 1913, but if developers are allowed to have their way, the Australian music scene will have to wave a tearful goodbye to seeing concerts at the beloved Festival Hall.
As The Herald Sun reports, a $65 million plan has been proposed to the Melbourne council which would see the vast majority of the famed venue torn down to make way for multi-level apartments, offices, and retail spaces.
Despite this plan, some of the more historically significant aspects of the venue, including the iconic entrance at Dudley Street and the boxing ring would remain untouched by developers.
Festival Hall was first opened back in 1913 when it was used a boxing venue under the name West Melbourne Stadium, where many of boxing’s greats showcased their atheltic ability. In the 1960s, it was renamed Festival Hall, when it then became one of the most prominent venues for live acts to play during their trips to Australia.
Over the years countless big names have played at Festival Hall, including The Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper, The Beatles, Rage Against The Machine, and Patti Smith.
Legendary Aussie music presenter Molly Meldrum has said that losing Festival Hall would be a tragedy. “We can’t afford to lose any live music venues, but especially not one with the history and memories attached to Festival Hall,” he said.
“So many great bands have played there and continue to play there. Personally I’d hate to see it go as it was the place I saw my first concert which was the Beatles — until I got kicked out.”
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On the other side of things, Aussie pop singer Ronnie Burns has stated that the redeveloping of Festival Hall is just urban progress at work. “It is iconic and it did wonderful things and it’s got a lot of memories,” Burns said. “But I think you just have to move on and not be sad about it — I don’t like to see our history being torn down but in this case it’s a very old building and it’s probably time to move on.”
“I’ll say I’m for it and I hope a lot of people don’t mind me saying that but it served the population for many, many decades.”
This news comes only months after the controversy surrounding Sydney’s iconic Hordern Pavilion was noted as being at risk due to plans from developers, leading to Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore sharing her opinion on the future of the venue.
While we’re yet to hear anything as to the future of Festival Hall from Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, we’ll keep you updated if any more developments come to light.