Want a new 5,000-capacity live music venue in Melbourne? Here’s how to make it happen

Get the latest from Beat


Want a new 5,000-capacity live music venue in Melbourne? Here’s how to make it happen

1 / 3
Words by Staff Writer

Plans for a new 5,000-capacity live music venue in St Kilda are currently in community consultation. The more positive responses City of Port Phillip receive, the more likely they are to secure funding.

Part of the St Kilda Triangle would be transformed into a 5000 standing capacity live music venue under an exciting concept being considered by Port Phillip Council. The council proposal follows the council recently declaring St Kilda as Victoria’s first Live Music Precinct.

Mayor Heather Cunsolo said the site, in a prime position on St Kilda’s famous foreshore near the Palais Theatre and Luna Park, is ideally situated to fill the big gap in Melbourne for a purpose-built indoor live music / performance venue for up to 5000 patrons.

Now, the council wants to know what you think about their proposal and get your feedback on the idea they have created. They’re accepting feedback until midnight on Thursday 19 October, so fill out the survey now here.

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Huge new music venue proposed for St Kilda foreshore

About the proposal

An indicative site layout shows how a venue meeting market demand and with complementary uses and car- parking could work on the site. The flexible design, which is not final, allows for seamless adjustments for smaller events or for up to 5000 music lovers. This versatility also allows opportunities outside of performances, such as industry training or functions.

“We’ve spoken to music industry experts from venues and promoters to performers to gauge the feasibility of this creative concept and they say it would help address a critical shortage of medium-large live music spaces. We now need to hear what our community thinks before deciding whether to progress this plan for the Triangle to play an even bigger role in St Kilda’s live music scene,” Cr Cunsolo said.

“This concept is also about providing beautiful, well-designed outdoor space for locals and visitors which complements the much-loved ‘slopes’ and provides a pedestrian connection to the foreshore.”

The emphasis on a mostly standing capacity venue allows for dancing in a purpose-built venue with state-of- the-art features such as acoustics, regardless of weather. This proposed capacity is similar to the well-regarded Fortitude Music Hall in Brisbane and Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.

A series of elevated terraces, balconies and rooftops offer a scenic ‘balcony to the bay” and existing views and sightlines are respected.

Why the St Kilda triangle

The St Kilda Triangle is well-serviced by public transport and the site layout includes about 240 parking spaces in a semi-basement and adjacent site. In addition to the Triangle, an existing 1600 paid parking spaces are within a 500-metre radius.

If a decision is made on 6 September to take the concept out to community consultation, this will be undertaken from 7 September to 19 October. A report informed by this consultation would then go to the council later in the year to help decide what next steps, if any, should be taken.

Given the civic nature and the scale of a potential new live music/performance venue on crown land, progressing the project from an idea to implementation would rely heavily on strong engagement and buy in from the Victorian Government.

As the feasibility work progresses, council is continuing to take every opportunity to engage with key government agencies on this idea to fill a gap identified by the industry while bringing the St Kilda Triangle to life.

This proposal reflects the spirit and intention of the 2016 masterplan for the site and is aligned with the Triangle’s history as the past home of the Palais de Danse dance hall, Palace Nightclub and other entertainment venues.

Mushroom Group CEO, Matt Gudinski: “It was such a shame to lose The Palace, a Melbourne live music institution for so many years. The concept of building a new purpose-built venue at the site has long been discussed and would be great news for St Kilda and our entire local music scene.

“We have a thriving community of homegrown artists and amazing venues across our state. To ensure our local scene remains as strong as ever we need to be constantly developing quality, new venues for Victoria to retain its status as the live music capital of Australia.”

Fitzroy Street Business Association President David Blakeley added: “The Fitzroy Street Business Association and Acland Street Village Business Association welcome Port Phillip Council’s investigation into a much-needed live music venue for the St Kilda Triangle.

“We believe what’s being proposed would drive local trade while improving social amenity. This venue would also strengthen St Kilda’s long lasting live music connection. Locals deserve a Triangle that acknowledges the entertainment history of the site while looking forward to a new future.”

10 council statements about the new proposal

  • The site has a long history of being a hub of entertainment, with the Palais de Danse historically located next to the Palais Theatre until 1969 when it was destroyed by fire. The Palace Nightclub was built in its place in 1971. Unfortunately, this building was also impacted by fire and was closed in 2007 and demolished.
  • The site of the new venue has been chosen as the most appropriate location based on historical uses of the site, such as the former Palais de Danse, and to respect key views from The Esplanade to the north and west. The indicative building envelope’s north-west corner has been shaped to respect views from The Esplanade to the bay.
  • Space for 5000 standing capacity with a mezzanine or balcony carrying 1000 of this capacity. Some seating capacity would likely be needed. This would fill the current gap in the market identified by the industry as the ‘sweet spot’.
  • Indicative building footprint – 9,650 m2 that includes an area of 7000 m2 of space for the main venue use, an additional multi-purpose/additional venue space for 350 capacity, and other activation uses (bars/café and possible rehearsal spaces).
  • The venue is shown with an indicative height of 20 m (AHD) to preserve views of the Palais’ roofline and facade to the north. This can be compared with the Palais Theatre which has a maximum height at the roof parapet of 32.11 m (AHD).
  • Public open space of 7,250 m2 – that includes circulation spaces, an area of lawn or a park, terraced steps to the level of the lawn creating an amphitheatre and opportunities for outdoor performances and events, possibilities for a pavilion for public use, and native landscape zones.
  • 200 car parks located under the venue.
  • 40 additional at grade car parks behind the Palais Theatre.
  • Enhances the connections between Acland Street, Luna Park and the Palais through to the foreshore
  • Achieves the spirit and intent of the 2016 Masterplan but responds to current context and current needs

They’re accepting feedback until midnight onThursday 19 October, so fill out the survey now.