Festival Hall is a concert and event venue located at 300 Dudley Street, West Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is one of Melbourne's larger concert venues and has hosted a variety of local and international acts over many years.
Formerly known as the West Melbourne Stadium (shortened to The Stadium), it was originally built in 1915 by John Wren (Chairman) and Dick Lean (General Manager) of Stadiums Ltd as a multi-function venue for boxing and wrestling. It quickly became known to locals as "the House of Stoush", as over the years some of the greatest names in boxing have duked it out, including Lionel Rose, Johnny Famechon, Anthony Mundine, Lester Ellis and Barry Michael. Wrestling also featured regularly, as did Roller Derby, ballroom dancing, cultural and religious gatherings, and the first Indoor Tennis Exhibition featuring John McEnroe.
'The Stadium' was destroyed by fire in 1955 but was rebuilt in time for the 1956 Olympics, where it was used for boxing, basketball, and gymnastics events. 'The Stadium' was renamed 'Festival Hall' in the early 1960s to reflect its increasing use as Melbourne's largest live entertainment venue at the time. Since it being rebuilt in '56, Festival Hall’s versatile set-up has been used for many events.
Festival Hall can be used for fully seated events of up to 4,586 including the main floor or for up to 5,445 if the floor is used for standing, sight lines permitting. The addition of floor-to-ceiling curtains around the main floor and between the side sections allows seating for up to 1,741 people or 2,600 standing on the main floor in intimate surrounds with the use of the balcony area opposite the stage above the main floor entrance providing an additional 272 seats. The main floor has an area of 1,288 m², providing ample room for comfortable dining for up to 1,000 seated guests plus dance floor, and the stage offers a further 160 m² of elevated space. Festival Hall has been used for black tie dinners, product launches, conferences, motivation sessions, art exhibitions, large Christmas parties, religious and cultural events, and even as an examination venue for Swinburne University. It's main use continues to be hosting local and international music acts.