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Live Nation Wins Bid to Operate the Palais Theatre

Touring promoter and venue operator Live Nation is the new operator and leaseholder of the Palais Theatre in St Kilda.

Today the City of Port Phillip announced: "Live Nation's proposal met or exceeded all our objectives and we are excited at what can now be delivered for our community and live music fans across Australia. We welcome Live Nation aboard and look forward to this much loved St Kilda venue delighting audiences for years to come."
 
In a long and often bitter tussle, 37 companies originally applied to run the 89-year-old venue. By this year, it was down to Live Nation and Sydney’s family run Playbill Venue Management (which runs the Hordern Pavilion and Royal Hall of Industries). The Palais Theatre Management Company (PTMC) which had run the venue since 2007 was dropped from the list by Council.
 
Under PTMC, events expanded from 30 to 100 a year with US-based global live industry trade publication Pollstar in 2013 ranked it as one of the Top 25 highest-grossing concert venues in the world.
 
Some St Kilda residents began a campaign against Live Nation, claiming that it would not share local community interests.
 
But City of Port Phillip rejected these, stating that Live Nation had also put forward the best approach to enhancing community benefits, “including community engagement, governance and fundraising, with the potential to not only retain but extend the social, economic and cultural benefits arising from the operation of the Palais Theatre for both the local St Kilda and broader Melbourne communities.”
 
Live Nation will set up the Palais Theatre Community Fund (PTCF) which will be funded by a $0.50 contribution from every ticket sold. The PTCF has the potential to generate more than $4 million over the life of the lease to thereby support a range of community initiatives. The fund will be administered by a committee which will include Live Nation, community and council representatives, and will be subject to Council-endorsed terms of reference.
 
Michael Coppel, Melbourne-based president and CEO of Live Nation Australia and New Zealand, said: “Live Nation Australia is thrilled to have been successful in securing the rights to operate the Palais Theatre. Both as a major presenter of live events and as a Melbourne-based and staffed music business firm, we are very aware of how important the venue is to the St Kilda community and to the people of Melbourne in general, and what a very special performance space it is.
 
“To have been granted stewardship of this iconic venue carries a great responsibility, and we will seek to restore the Palais to its former glories, to better adapt it to the changing requirements of live performances, and to operate it for the benefit of all stakeholders, hirers, staff and patrons.
 
“We look forward with great enthusiasm to successfully navigating the opportunities that lie ahead.”
 
Live Nation Australia is also involved in operating venues in West Australia, and looking at doing so in other parts of Australia.
 
The Palais is set to have about $43.4 million worth of restoration to the building. The State Government has committed $13.4 million and the Council's $7.5 million.
 

For more industry news visit Christie Eliezer's Industrial Strength column.