Bringing Live Music Back to MCEC
For the first time in nearly a year, Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre (MCEC) welcomed back live music to our Plenary theatre for two very special nights in the summer of 2021.
Renowned international singer and songwriter Ben Folds performing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra was the perfect return of live music to the venue following its closure for most of 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The concert also demonstrated MCEC’s COVID safe practices in full swing and was made possible thanks to close collaboration with health authorities.
Increased capacity, increased safety:
In early 2021, the Victorian Government approved a plan for MCEC to welcome back events at up to 75 per cent capacity per event space, to a maximum of 5,000 attendees. This was a unique arrangement at the time for public events in Victoria and was only possible due to our comprehensive VenueSafe Plan . This plan has seen stringent health and safety measures put in place, alongside the creation of a special VenueSafe advisory team within MCEC. Recently, we were able to increase that daily capacity to 10,000 attendees per event, with events over 5,000 requiring timed sessions with opportunity for sanitisation between sessions.
Our VenueSafe advisors are operational and safety specialists who, alongside our Sales and Planning teams, can help customers bring their events to life in a COVID-safe way. They make sure MCEC’s VenueSafe plan is consistent with the Government’s latest health advice too, regularly updating it as restrictions change. But as those who work in the event industry know too well, every event is different. That’s why our VenueSafe Advisors work closely with the Department of Health to identify any event types that may have specific needs or additional safety measures.
Putting plans into practice:
A plan is all well and good, but how does it stack up in practice? The Ben Folds Symphonic Tour concert was the first real opportunity to test our COVID safe measures in practice. Given that, DHHS representatives came to observe during one of the performances. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive, but we won’t rest on our laurels. Like all good plans, there’s always room to improve and with the help of Victorian health authorities, we continue to build on what we have.
“At MCEC we are incredibly proud to be acknowledged as a standout venue for COVID-safety, which means we can host world class performers like Ben Folds, safely. It was fantastic to see such respect from attendees as they followed strict protocols regarding queuing, temperature checks and the use of QR codes.” - Darren Waite, Director of Sales at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre said.
MCEC’s comprehensive VenueSafe Plan includes:
VenueSafe advisors to work alongside event organisers, employees and contractors to ensure all health measures are followed.
Restricting building access to event attendees only, with no general public access allowed.
Health check stations at each entry point, including access to regular hand sanitising
Frequent routine cleaning and signage prominently displayed to indicate 1.5 metre physical distancing.
All employees trained on coronavirus (COVID-19) safety and sanitisation protocols.