A night at Festival Hall with the Ramones (1980)

From its opening in 1959 until its demolition in 2003, Festival Hall was one of Brisbane’s premiere concert venues. A wide variety of Australian and international artists played at Festival Hall over this period, including the likes of Sammy Davis Jr (1959); Ricky Nelson (1960); The Beatles (1964); Ray Charles (1967); The Monkees (1968); Cat Stevens (1972); T Rex (1973); Bay City Rollers (1975); Paul McCartney and Wings (1975); The Police (1981) and The Stranglers (1985).

Ramones performing at Festival Hall, Brisbane in 1980. From 29127 Paul O’Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Ramones performing at Festival Hall, Brisbane in 1980. From 29127 Paul O’Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

On July 18, 1980 US punk rock band the Ramones performed at Festival Hall as part of their tour of Australia. The Ramones were one of the founders of the punk movement in the mid to late 1970s along with the likes of the New York Dolls, the Sex Pistols, The Stranglers, The Clash and Brisbane’s own The Saints. A few months before this concert the Ramones released their fifth studio album, End of the Century, produced by noted 1960s music producer Phil Spector. The album was seen as a departure from punk to a more polished pop sound to appeal to a wider audience.

Ramones performing at Festival Hall, Brisbane in 1980. From 29127 Paul O’Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Ramones performing at Festival Hall, Brisbane in 1980. From 29127 Paul O’Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

The supporting band that evening was Australian group Midnight Oil, who would achieve Top 10 chart success a few years later with their 1982 album 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and singles such as Power and the Passion and US Forces.

Ramones performing at Festival Hall, Brisbane in 1980. From 29127 Paul O’Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Ramones performing at Festival Hall, Brisbane in 1980. From 29127 Paul O’Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Ramones performing at Festival Hall, Brisbane in 1980. From 29127 Paul O’Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Ramones performing at Festival Hall, Brisbane in 1980. From 29127 Paul O’Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY

Advertisement for the Ramones / Midnight Oil concert at Festival Hall, Brisbane, 1980

Advertisement for the Ramones / Midnight Oil concert at Festival Hall, Brisbane, 1980

The day after their Festival Hall appearance, the Ramones performed at the Gold Coast’s Playroom.

Photographs from this 1980 concert are part of the Paul O’Brien collection, which contains 880 photographic negatives of bands and fans in the Brisbane punk scene from the late 1970s to early 1980s. Some of these images have been digitised and can be browsed online through our One Search catalogue.

Do you have any materials (old flyers, posters, stickers, reviews, tickets, recordings, films, videos, photos, letters and other memorabilia) from Queensland’s music scene gathering dust at home? This material has valuable place in our music history and cultural heritage and should be looked after and preserved for current and future generations.  Please contact our Queensland Music Curator, Laurel Dingle, about any material you think should come to the library.

Further reading

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland