Live Nation Takes Over Lease Of Iconic Venue Festival Hall

17 March 2023 | 4:58 pm | Staff Writer

'It will help put the iconic venue firmly back on the global live entertainment map.'

Anderson .Paak @ Festival Hall in 2019. Pic by Joshua Braybrook

Anderson .Paak @ Festival Hall in 2019. Pic by Joshua Braybrook

Hillsong Church has come to an agreement with Live Nation, allowing the global music powerhouse to take over the lease of one of Australia’s most iconic music venues, Melbourne’s Festival Hall.

As reported by Herald Sun, it will return as a full-time live music venue after Live Nation secured a multi-year lease.

In October 2020, it was reported that the Australian megachurch picked up the historic music and events venue for $23 million after a tough 18-month negotiation. Originally announcing it on their YouTube channel, Hillsong stated that they would continue to run Festival Hall as a 'community venue'.

"It has served the people of this city in different events over the years and it's going to continue to do that," Hillsong pastors Tim and Nicola Douglass stated in 2020. 

"We just get to be the church that purchases it and continues to serve, but also gets to see it be the house of God on Sundays."

Doubts within the live music community led to discussions about building another similar venue in the Docklands area that would cater to artists playing to crowds of 3000+ punters. However, the plans were never brought to fruition, leaving a sizable gap in the music market and pushing more shows to take place at Margaret Court Arena.

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“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, President LN APAC, said.

“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.”

Live Nation, who have recently been the brains behind such major Australian tours as Harry Styles, P!NK, Rod Stewart and more, will now be looking to inject new life into the iconic venue which has hosted the likes of The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra and Shirley Bassey to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Powderfinger and more.

In 2018, Festival Hall was able to secure a permanent heritage listing in the city, preventing it from facing plans to demolish it for new apartments.