News July 11, 2016

Live Nation takes over Palais Theatre

Charts & New Music Editor
Live Nation takes over Palais Theatre

In an announcement made earlier today, iconic Melbourne venue The Palais Theatre has been officially handed over to US-based multinational entertainment giant Live Nation.

A lease agreement has been made between Live Nation AU/NZ and the Victorian Government, and approved by the City of Port Phillip, seeing off close competition from Sydney-based Playbill Venue Management.

Live Nation will take control of all operational rights and affairs at The Palais for a 30-year period.

It is understood that Live Nation will make major contributions within the first five years to the theatre’s restoration project that began in June, as well as taking further steps to promote community engagement and provide economic benefits for the local St Kilda area and broader Melbourne communities. 

Greg Gillin, Senior Vice President for Venue Development at Live Nation, told TMN Live Nation endorses the beneficial outcomes of the handover and is committed to ensuring the voices and concerns of the local community members are heard.

“We have a fully developed Community Engagement and Investment Strategy that focuses on the refurbishment and redevelopment of venue,” he said. “We intend to meet with local community representatives in the near future to discuss these plans and receive their thoughts and concerns regarding the change of management of the venue”.

After months of uncertainty surrounding the future of the venue, the deal marks the start of a new era for the theatre as Live Nation supersedes the role carried out by Neil Croker, CEO and booker of the Palais Theatre since 2007. The multifaceted organisation will take care of all aspects of the venue management process including promotion and ticketing.

Notable industry figures have identified concerns over the deal, citing a further monopolisation of the live music market as damaging to the industry. Gillin insists that these concerns are unwarranted as specific systems have been put in place to prevent this from occurring: 

“To ensure a level playing field, our lease stipulates we must develop a Fair Competition and Confidentiality Policy for the hire of the Palais,” he told TMN. “To protect all promoters we have agreed on a booking process with the City of Port Phillip that will be regularly audited to ensure the terms of the lease are adhered to.”

According to City of Port Phillip, the lease includes safeguards such as termination if there is persistent non-compliance with the agreed Fair Competition and Confidentially Policy.

Live Nation’s index rental of $875,000 per annum, plus annual contributions, will ease the Victorian Government’s concerns over the long-term sustainability of the venue and is set to protect and guarantee the future of the Palais Theatre.

Live Nation will also make a financial contribution of almost $60 million over 30 years as follows:

  • $7.3 million for theatre redevelopment in the next five years to enhance safety, accessibility, functionality, heritage and amenity
  • An annual contribution for asset maintenance, renewal and improvement over the life of the lease to ensure the theatre is handed back in a condition that supports uninterrupted operation under a new lease
  • $4 million for a Palais Theatre Community Fund which will be established and maintained through a 50 cent contribution for every ticket sold and used to support a range of community initiatives such as community hire of the Palais
  • $2.4 million in provision of the theatre at cost to Council for eight community purpose days per annum to be used for significant events such as the opening night of the St Kilda Film Festival
  • Annual rental commencing at $875,000 and indexed, which will be used by Council as landlord to maintain the heritage asset over the long term.


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