Live Nation adds Festival Hall to book

Festival Hall (centre) has hosted The Beatles, Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra.

Live Nation has added another Australian stadium to its book.

Live Nation last year leased 111 Cambridge Street, Collingwood, as its local headquarters.

The California based promoter has leased West Melbourne’s Festival Hall from Hillsong for an undisclosed price and term.

Contrary to reporting elsewhere, the landlord will still utilise the property for events and weekend services.

The deal comes a week after the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission launched an investigation into the Pentecostal group, claiming it illegally used funds from the COVID wage subsidy program to buy the venue in October, 2020.

The ACNC also claims Hillsong earned over $50 million more than declared in recent years – which the church has denied.

Live Nation boosts portfolio

Live Nation is the world’s largest live concert producer, operating out of 57 countries.

The Festival Hall agreement comes seven years since the operator took over St Kilda’s Palais Theatre, owned by the City of Port Phillip.

Also in Melbourne, last June, it leased a 2808 square metre warehouse-converted-office at 111 Cambridge Street, Collingwood, for its local headquarters.

Within a Foy & Gibson warehouse, that space was formerly occupied by Swisse Wellness, which relocated to Peregrine Projects’ 88 Langridge St, within the suburb, and before that, Witchery.

Outside of Victoria, Live Nation operates Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall and, in Adelaide, the Hindley Street Music Hall (story continues below).

Eight months ago, it seized control of the Anita Theatre at Thirroul, 13 kilometres north of Wollongong – its first regional Australian venue – for an initial 25 years.

Hillsong to stay on

Hillsong paid the Wren family $23.4m for Festival Hall during Melbourne’s second COVID-related lockdown; it was the first time the property was offered for sale in 105 years.

In a deal leader Brian Houston described as “by God’s grace” – the venue fell into the church’s hands after an agreement to a consortium of media groups was withdrawn because of fears related to the pandemic affecting audience numbers in the medium term.

With a capacity of 5400, the stadium at 300 Dudley St is Melbourne’s eighth biggest live entertainment venue and the largest privately owned one.

The facility has hosted The Beatles, Shirley Bassey, Johnny Cash, Bill Haley and Frank Sinatra.

More recently it has accommodated The Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Justin Timberlake and Ed Sheeran.

Live Nation has booked its first concert, to US-based rapper Denzel Curry, on April 28.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of