Brisbane Festival Hall
Interior view of Festival Hall, 1959
Brisbane QLD 4000
|Owner||Stadiums Limited, City of Brisbane|
|Genre(s)||music, concerts, sporting events|
|Opened||27 April 1959|
|Closed||29 August 2003|
The Festival Hall was originally known as Brisbane Stadium, which was built in 1910. In 1958, the venue was demolished and a new building constructed, by then leading Queensland Construction Company E.J.Taylor & Sons, as part of the Centenary of Queensland. It was opened on 27 April 1959 and renamed Festival Hall. With a capacity of 4,000 people, it was the largest indoor public venue, in the Brisbane inner city area and it remained the city's primary indoor venue for more than forty years. It was designed in a postwar modern style, similar to its namesake, the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Like similar venues in other Australian cities, Festival Hall originally had been built as a boxing stadium, but as the popularity of boxing and wrestling waned after the introduction of television, it began to be used more often for other forms of entertainment, including the imported American sports craze "Roller Derby", and as a venue for concerts and theatrical presentations. Boxing events for the 1982 Commonwealth Games were held at Festival Hall. Also, many professional boxing events were held at the Festival Hall, including a number headlined by Australian boxing legend Hector Thompson.
Brisbane Festival Hall hosted performances for virtually every major tour by visiting overseas artists. On 28 June 1964, The Beatles played the first of four concerts at the venue. Other well known performers who entertained at Festival Hall include The Seekers, Fugazi, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, The Bee Gees, The Kinks, Nirvana, The Ramones, AC/DC, Pantera, U2, Stone Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tool, Ozzy Osbourne, Lemonheads, Hoodoo Gurus, Public Enemy, Regurgitator, Beck and Massive Attack.
Some early performances were done by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bolshoi Ballet. The Police were scheduled to perform during The Police Around the World Tour on 24 March 1980, but the show was cancelled. The final concert held there, Michael Franti and Spearhead, took place on 9 August 2003.
Brisbane Festival Hall closed on 29 August 2003, and the building was subsequently sold and demolished to make way for an apartment development known as Festival Towers. The seats from the venue were sold off as souvenirs in lots of three.
Devine Limited, developers of the Festival Towers apartment building, subsequently commissioned the Queensland Performing Arts Centre's Performing Arts Museum to design and install a "Walk of Fame" display commemorating the history of the site. Located within the entry lobby of Festival Towers, the display consists of a wall-mounted installation of backlit panels, incorporating original seatbacks from Festival Hall, with images of performers and other significant figures in the Festival Hall story. Other smaller panels feature photographs and history of the site.
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