Iconic Festival Hall Threatened

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Melbourne’s iconic Festival Hall could be demolished to make way for a $65 million, 16 and 9 storey, twin-tower apartment complex.

The venue is probably best known as the site of the Beatles’ 1964 concerts and has played host to numerous music legends over the decades. It was also the venue for Lionel Rose’s 1968 world championship fight and TV’s Ringside Wrestling in the 1960s (which gave it one of its nicknames as The House of Stoush).

The Age reports that a planning proposal has been lodged with Melbourne City Council which would entail the construction of apartments, as well as retail and office space.  The Wren family, who own the site, have announced a redevelopment plan that includes the demolition of most of the hall but “retention of important historic reminders including the Dudley Street entrance, the boxing ring and stage.”

While Festival Hall is famous for The Beatles’ shows it also hosted Bob Dylan’s first Melbourne show in April 1966. Other mainstream international acts to appear at the venue include Frank Sinatra, Liberace, Peter, Paul & Mary, and Sammy Davis Jr. Iconic Australian acts to appear there include The Easybeats, AC/DC and Skyhooks, while The Dingoes appeared there as support to Osibisa! International rock acts include Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Pink Floyd, R.E.M, Patti Smith, The Clash, Yes, Chicago, Little Feat, Elton John, The Who, The Small Faces, The Monkees, Roy Orbison, Frank Zappa, The Mahavishnu Orchestra,  The Eagles, Iggy Pop and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Joe Cocker’s 1972 concerts at Festival Hall received international attention when the singer appeared on stage drunk and was later arrested after a brawl at his motel. He was already under a deportation order from an arrest in Adelaide.

 

Brian Wise

Brian Wise was the Editor of Addicted To Noise‘s Australian site from 1997 – 2002. The site won two ONYA Awards as Best Online Music Magazine in 1999 & 2000. He has also been Editor since its reincarnation in 2013. He also presents the weekly music interview program Off The Record on 102.7 Triple R-FM (rrr.org.au) in Melbourne. It is networked to 45+ stations across Australia on the Community Radio Network and is a four-time winner of the Best Music Program Award from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. In 2012, it was nominated as a finalist in the Excellence in Music Programming category. Brian was also the Founding Editor & Publisher of Rhythms Magazine and is now its Senior Contributing Editor.

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