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The Palais Theatre Could Be Taken Over By Tour Promoters Live Nation Tomorrow

Written by Sam Murphy on May 23, 2016

Concert promoters Live Nation will tomorrow find out whether they have secured the lease of iconic Melbourne venue The Palais Theatre.

As The Music Network reports, Port Phillip Council is deciding over whether to give a lease of up to 25 years to the US-based company or to Playbill Venue Management who run a number of venues around Australia including Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion and the Royal Hall of Industries.

It’s a move that has industry figures worried given that competing promoters would have to book gigs at the venue through Live Nation, making them privy to potentially confidential information.

Industry veteran Michaell Chugg, who heads-up Chugg Entertainment, has taken aim at the possibility of Live Nation running the venue. Chugg Entertainment are a company in direct competition with Live Nation and are currently promoting upcoming tours by huge acts like Deftones and Flume.

“When you book a venue for a concert they want to know who the act is. So you will be in a situation where you are telling a rival who the act is before that act is booked,” Chugg said.

“And that rival will be running the venue.”

Neil Croker, the current CEO of Palais Theatre Management Company, will finish up as the operator of the venue in December. Croker has been in charge of the venue since 2007, taking the venue from 30 shows a year on average to 110 in 2015.

The Age is reporting that other bidders offered to pay the council more money for the venue forcing Croker and co. to move on.

Chugg can’t understand why the Council would get rid of Croker given that he, “took it on when it was a broken down shithole and built it back up into a prestigious venue.”

Last week, opponents of Live Nation taking over the theatre projected, “Don’t let Live Nation trump St. Kilda” onto the building accompanied by a large US flag.

The Palais is set to undergo a $20 million restoration due to be completed in early 2017. The new lease is expected to start once the restoration is complete. The council will make the decision on who will take on that lease behind closed doors tomorrow.

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