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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

Goodbye, Festival Hall

04 Nov 2020

Goodbye, Festival Hall Image

The Hillsong Church has purchased Festival Hall after a long period of confusion over the iconic Melbourne venue’s future.

Hillsong founder Brian Houston announced in a YouTube video on October 24 that the Pentecostal Church had bought the building.

“It’s an amazing venue and by God’s grace we’ve been able to purchase Festival Hall,” he said.

“It is going to become the city location for Hillsong Melbourne.”

Festival Hall was placed on the market at the end of 2019, a year after the Heritage Council granted it protection from demolition.

The venue can accommodate up to 5400 patrons which makes it the largest, privately-owned stadium in Melbourne.

In January, 2018 the hall’s owners revealed plans to demolish most of the building and sell the site to a developer with permission for two 16-storey buildings. They said the venue was no longer financially viable due to overwhelming competition from larger stadia.

An outcry from Melbournians turned into a lobby for heritage protection.

Upon Hillson’s announcement there was another outcry from the community. Junkee reported the sale under the headline “Hasn’t Melbourne Suffered Enough?” while Festival Hall’s event coordinator Tanya Gleeson tweeted her disappointment.

Many took to social media calling on the federal government to start taxing churches.

“A ‘church’ should not have $23 million sitting around idle to buy a building with,” one person tweeted.

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