For more than 25 years now, The Blues Train has been providing a unique way to enjoy live music on the Bellarine.
Combining four carefully selected Australian Blues acts, a Bellarine Railway heritage train, dinner and drinks for 200 patrons running Saturday nights 10 months of the year, The Blues Train is an experience like none other. It’s a beauty, to say the least.
Since its beginning, the blues event has become an integral part of the Queenscliff Tourism and Victorian Music Industries. But the most important legacy of the Blues Train is the many relationships and stories, personal, professional and business which have endured and flourished.
Born of a simple idea for fun, the organic result has been genius and in retrospect obvious. It’s a clear case of amazing things happening when passions combine, and while many things have changed during the 25 years (that’s just a natural evolution for you), the original concept is still as brilliant as ever.
We’re not the only ones who think so either. The Tesky Brothers, C W Stoneking, Dallas Frasca and Ash Grunwald are just some of the big names that started their careers ridin’ the rails, while Australian Blues legends Jimi Hocking, Geoff Achison, Lloyd Spiegel and the late Chris Wilson have all been an integral part of the Blues Train history. The list of names of other artists who have performed over the years goes on for miles, with new blues artists like The Ethan Farmer band are creating a new generation of Blues Train fans.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of riding The Blues Train, you’ll be in for a treat! The evening begins at the newly restored Queenscliff railway station. Patrons gather on the platform or in the heritage carriages and enjoy fine Bellarine wines and Geelong brewed beers and a generous and delicious buffet dinner. Over four legs of the journey guests progress through four carriages to enjoy four different acts. Sunset views over Swan Bay and starry moonlit skies add to the atmosphere and take travellers back to the stories of the old blues masters jamming on Mississippi freight trains. Dancing and participation are encouraged especially in Carriage D, the Loose Caboose. Whether you’re a diehard blues fan, train enthusiast or fun-loving grown-up looking for something different you will love the Blues Train. The big smiles leaving the platform are a testimony to this.
We can pretty much pinpoint the success of the train to the one and only Hugo T Armstrong, founder and proprietor of the Blues Train, who is a man with a huge heart, a passion for people and over 35 years of music industry experience. Combine this with a love of steam trains, a connection to his local area and a great ear for the next-big-thing, and you can see why this event is still steaming along.
That’s quite an achievement for anyone – a mini festival every week for the past 25 years – and it one that’s well worth celebrating.
Forte readers can join in on the birthday celebrations with a special 10% discount when you use the promo code FORTE as you book your sessions for August and September via www.thebluestrain.com.au.