Melbourne’s Festival Hall to be given new life

26 October 2020

Opened in 1915 and rebuilt after a destructive fire in time for the 1956 Olympics, Melbourne’s Festival Hall is about to be renewed once again as new owners take possession of the iconic music and entertainment venue.

Community Venues, established by Hillsong Church, has purchased the building and intends to create a community hub to support live music, entertainment, corporate functions and other events.

The building will also serve as a permanent home to Hillsong Melbourne, with the church being the anchor tenant.

Announcing the acquisition to Hillsong Church yesterday, senior pastor Brian Houston said not only does it meet the need of the church’s growing Melbourne congregation, but “it’s a way to give back to Melbourne and continue the venue’s legacy.”

Community Venues was established so the building can be purchased and managed separately from the church. It will still operate as ‘Festival Hall’ and be available to the greater community.

Pastor Houston explained that Hillsong Church has been renting venues in the Melbourne CBD for over eight years and now requires a larger and permanent facility.

“We’ve been looking for the right opportunity and have been in negotiations with the owners of Festival Hall since early 2019.”

However he said one of the most exciting aspects of the purchase was the opportunity to ensure that the famous live music, entertainment and sporting landmark maintained its history and continued to be used by the Melbourne and wider Victorian communities.

The church believes the project will help bring an economic boost to Victoria, with the refurbishment and continued management by Community Venues set to generate local jobs and opportunities for small business.