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


It was the venue for a whole bunch of under 18’s concerts in the early 80’s
You’d pay bugger all, and usually get 2-3 bands on a saturday arvo. I remember seeing the Dugites, Aussie Crawl and Mi Sex together on one bill, with No Nonsense and Uncanny X-men on another.
Also have vague memories of Cold Chisel, Billy Idol, and mid 80’s Meatloaf- all great shows. I’m sure there was more, but I’m getting confused with The Venue-memory is a ■■■■■■■!
Oh, and on the subject of the Venue/Seaview Ballroom- still my fav Melbourne gig, with the Corner a close second. Hot, sweaty, sticky floors and great music.




You’re getting a tad confused there.

The Venue = Earls Court

Seaview Ballroom = Crystal Ballroom = Seaview Hotel.


I thought the “Ballroom” was upstairs, and the “Venue” was downstairs- with the weird disco thingy out back, ( there was always an older guy there dancing by himself as I recall). I remember seeing the Cult there, and everyone was bouncing up and down on the old ballroom sprung floor.


Nah. Seaview Hotel had the Crystal (Seaview) Ballroom upstairs, yes, … but “The Venue” was down on the Esplanade, beside the St Moritz Ice skating rink, which burnt down in 1982.

It was in the “Earls Court Ballroom” which was also demolished in the late 80’s


This link gives a bit of history.



Just on The Seaview, there is a book on the Punk years I bought a few years back that is a ripping read, and brought back heaps of memories of many good, some bizarre, and yes, some rather dangerous nights.

I’ll have to dig it out, but a quick Goog reminded the exact title,

The Ballroom: the Melbourne Punk and Post-Punk Scene by Dolores San Migue

Highly recommended.


I remember seeing the Beatles there a very very long time ago, and it was a ■■■■■■ dump then.

I had some great times there, but heritage listed !!! Pull it down and build a park, you can never have enough trees.


It might be a dump. But who honestly wants to go to a clean, new & sterile venue to watch live music?

Atmosphere is built over time. The longer the venue lives on, the more special it is as a live music space.

It’s definitely not my favourite place to see a band, but the more options the better.


Festival Hall was a dump in 1966, has crappy acoustics, the amenities are bad, parking and transport is poor. I could go on and on.

Palais is great and should be used more, there are lots of places around that could be used, except for ■■■■■■■■ NIMBYs.

And Jono, back in the day, those sterile places were soon made very unsterile with the right music.


Yep. It’s a dump. Acoustics are ■■■■. Had some great times there, but please.


The Palais is great for old people like me who like theatre seating…


Festival Hall worked best for wrestling and political/union meetings. - Acoustics were shocking.


I was there in 1972, when Gough launched the Labor campaign. Second row sitting behind all the TV and Music stars of the time. I was in love with Little Patty, who was directly in front of me with Col Joye. Besrt Newton was next, bald as a badger without his wig !


I was at that show too. Quite possibly the loudest show I’ve ever been to - the bass was truly rib-cage rumbling!


Thanks for that BSD- it is a couple of decades ago, and I guess I got my ballrooms confused.
Either way, a great venue.


Over the last few years I’ve had a little bit to do with being a stakeholder with advocating for live music, purely because of my job.

There has become a very active peak body in Music Victoria, who has some very high profile music identities. But there was a fire in the belly of music fans, when the Tote closed down because of liquor licencing issues. Ever since the SLAM rally in the city, both Local Governements across Victoria and the Victoria State Government have been heavily involved protecting the assets of Live music in the state.
If you get the chance watch the Tote Documentary, which captures how it was all sparked. If the Tote never closed, I’d say Victoria would be going down the same road as Sydney, where there is no live venues anymore.


Have always loved the tote but since the re-open they have really gotten it right…Although more youthful then what older punters would remember and prefer. It’s currently a diverse and more successful operation then before closure…and worth going to nearly every weekend (especially this Friday wink wink nudge nudge). A true gem.

I consider the change and then closure of The Arthouse to be the biggest crime - but at least with that came the rejuvenation of The Bendigo and the opening of The Reverence in Footscrazy…

Best show for me at Festival Hall was Devo + Eddy Current.


Festival Hall ? You mean the West Melbourne Stadium, don’t you ?


Grindhouse at the Tote last week was killer


How did the Arthouse change before it’s closure? I don’t remember any of that