The Rolling Stones Urge Fans To Save Melbourne’s Palais Theatre

The legendary Rolling Stones have thrown their support behind the campaign to save Melbourne’s ailing Palais Theatre, an historic music venue in need of major renovations. Frontman Mick Jagger reportedly appealed to the audience to support the campaign during the band’s performance at Rod Laver Arena last night.

“I’d just like to tell you, we played at the Palais Theatre about 50 years ago,” he told the crowd, as reported by the Port Phillip Leader. “We’re still here…The Palais Theatre is just about still there – give generously.”

Reportedly the show, which was the the fourth leg of the Stones’ 14 On Fire Australian tour, opened with an image of the Palais Theatre projected onto the arena’s big screen.

Campaign group ilovemypalais, who are actively petitioning the state government to financially assist with the necessary restorations, posted the news on their Facebook page today. “We’re thrilled! Last night, at their Melbourne concert, Mick Jagger asked the crowd to get behind the Palais Theatre,” the post said.

Campaigner Liz Van Dort told Fairfax that on the Rolling Stones’ first tour of Australia in January and February of 1965, the band played two gigs at the Palais. “At the time they were one of the hottest bands in the UK, following the release of their second album,” she said. “Now, almost 50 years since the Stones played there, the Palais Theatre is at a crossroads.”

The local Port Phillip Council, who manage the building’s lease, has estimated the 87-year-old venue will near up to $40 million for the restorations. Earlier this year a brochure circulated by the Council even described the St Kilda theatre as facing “imminent risk of closure” if they don’t procure the necessary funds for renovations.

Last week the council pledged to contribute $7.5 million towards the renovations on the condition that the State government, who actually own the heritage-listed building, chip in a sum of $25 million. Deputy Mayor Serge Thomann praised Jagger’s support for the campaign, tweeting, “Thank you for your support last night Mick” along with an audio file of the Stones playing live at the Palais in 1966.

Tomorrow, the council will open up expressions of interest for the Palais’ long-term lease, meaning there is a potential change of operator. Entries will close on 19th December.

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