When The Musics Over - FESTIVAL HALL to be no more (maybe)


XTC, Magazine and The Kinks that is


Yep & they all had attitude too.

The old festering hall was only half full for XTC & Magazine, so had plenty of room to jump around.

Just checked & the Kinks were 1982


It was the best. EVERYONE came out of that gig so hyped. Everyone was shouting at each other instead of talking. Felt like I could have torn down the entire CBD with my bare hands.




FH feels like an enlarged version of your local basketball club organising a battle of the bands. You’d think the ushers look are all related (many generations though). Despite this I tended to see more fights in the crowd there. It has been the done thing to disparage FH for decades, and the sound is not great and you might be on a funny angle, but it feels so alive. Looking at the list of bands above it is difficult to believe there is no heritage listing. The owners sound pretty cut up about the sale too (including Wren junior).


The Jeff Harding V Barry Michael bout was held at Festival Hall. One of the best bouts and biggest upsets seen in Australia. Shame the venue has to go but fond memories alone don’t pay for upkeep.


I definitely saw AIC at Festival Hall. I remember it well as it was one of the worst gigs I’ve ever been too - or rather, most disappointing. Layne could hardly stand, kept walking off stage mid song, the drummer cracked the ■■■■■ and kicked his kit over, twice! While trying to get their act together, Jerry Cantrell got people up from the crowd to muck around on his guitar. Can’t remember them playing any more than 4 or 5 songs. Add to that , the sound was shocking - eg. distorting to the point of sheer noise. Shocker.

Edit: there is footage of gigs from both Festival Hall and the Palace on Utube.


I remember seeing Faith No More there many years ago. Fantastic show.

Last visit was about two years ago to see Soundgarden. Seems sad now in hindsight.


Oh how I wish I was old enough to have seen that…
It kills me that I never got to see XTC…


this was 99, our first gig in the Espy front bar, we thought we’d made it getting that sort of gig as a bunch of kids from Dandenong. Wally Meanie was in the Audience and came up after the show told us he liked us and the sound guy from one of the other bands told us he was a spotter from Shock Records and in the proceeding weeks stooped us out of about a grand. Good times.

The astute eyes will notice the drummer from Biscut in the background


Billy Idol was epic with Steve Stevens going nuts on the guitar :grin:


Saw a bunch of shows there over the years, as recently as earlier this month…ain’t got the nickname festy hall for no reason! Saw LG there and it was STANKIN


The Venue,The Palace,The Continental, all gone…


Perfect example of a band giving the finger to their fans, and going for chart success.

They lost the majority of hardcore fans, and then mainstream pop audiences consume and dispose of music like fast food.

They screwed themselves.


No, no, no, it was Green Day that sold out.
Before anyone had even heard of them, apparently.


Whilst I never went there…I’m not sure sticking an apartment tower next to a railway line with trains seemingly every minute and an underpass that becomes a flood after a few showers is a wise construction either.

Ron Casey would be turning in his grave. The history of TV Ringside in Festival Hall would be well known to all in the boxing world. You think of the names like Rose, Famechon among others…it was here that they honed their craft and became champions.


I’ve seen stacks of bands there. It truly was/is a ■■■■ venue for sound quality.
We once owned two run down houses right opposite which I lived in, on and off, for quite a few years. Very handy when decent gigs were on.
Party’s, jam sessions, plenty of good times spent there in the old days.
The ol man bought them for a song in the early 80’s when we had a shop in the Vic market.
I wish we had them today. I would sell them and retire.


Didn’t they make a fair bit of money and put their kids through college and the lead singer now has a PHD?


It’s an interesting dilemma. Having listened to early Offspring and seen the ‘demise’, I went and took a look at their lineup and label changes to see if there was a key change. Other than label, not much of note, so can it be put down to that alone?

I dunno.

But what do people want?

A quarter of a century ago, Nirvana blew the joint up, and Kurt Cobain ended up blowing his brains out. what do we want from our musicians? To stay true to the hard core fans, or to decide they want to make a living out of it and write ‘radio friendly unit shifters’?


As far as I can remember I saw Yes ,Pink Floyd, Joe cocker, Credence, Bo Didley, Frank Zappa, Queen, Lou reed, Don McLean, Santana, Moody blues, Elo, ELP, Jethro tull, and Roxy music, mostly at Festival Hall.
However it was the 70’s and you know what they say about remembering the 70’s.
I do remember the Queen encore was Freddie Mercury in a neck to knee striped swimsuit singing the Shirley Bassey classic Big Spender. Awesome.