Sad news for Australia’s longest running blues music venue.
Since its beginning more than 26 years ago, the renowned Blues Train has become an integral part of the Queenscliff Tourism and Victorian Music Industries.
Providing a unique way to enjoy live music on the Bellarine, The Blues Train combines 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. An experience like none other, it’s a beauty, to say the least.
Having last operated more than a year ago, back in back 2020, the business was brought to its knees as the pandemic ripped through the music industry, and only now the iconic business is suffering another mighty blow, having to cancel all of its shows scheduled for 2021.
The key takeaways
- The Blues Train cancels revival concert series
- The venue has ceased to operate for 18 months due to COVID
- The venue is appealing to the public for donations to its Go Fund Me Campaign
Announced today by Blues Train’s Founder Hugo T Armstrong, the Queenscliff and the Bellarine’s iconic Blues Train have made the tough decision to cancel the revival concert series which was due to kick off in October and run through November and December.
Due to feature performances from the likes of esteemed musicians Vic Polyik’s Blues Cosmonauts, Jarron Shaw, Bill Barber, George Kamikawa, Jimi Hocking, Anna Scionti, Phil Para Band, among many others, the concert series was going to be a significant milestone for the venue, which proved to be one of the hardest-hit products in Victoria due to the COVID-19 pandemic with after-effects rippling through the community.
“With a heavy heart, we are emailing you to inform you that due to the escalating situation of the COVID-19 Delta virus variant in Victoria, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our 2021 Shows, including all October, November and December shows,” a statement read.
“The Blues Train has always prided itself on putting the health & safety of its guests, staff, contractors and musicians first and foremost. In addition, a lack of Government ongoing support for event-based businesses means that insurance is unavailable to cover the costs of last-minute cancellations. With this in mind, we’ve decided that it’s impossible for us to run any of our 2021 shows.
“Words cannot describe the devastation that this decision has caused us.”
In a recent Economic Impact Report donated by Ethos Urban, spending by Blues Train patrons during their stay in the region, on non-Blues Train activities is estimated at $1.73 million annually which is a huge hit to our stunning region.
Despite receiving minor government assistance, their vigilant application for Grants from the State and Federal Governments, Hugo T’s Superannuation injection and a Go Fund Me campaign, their bank account has continued to run dry, especially with the end of JobKeeper and the continued restrictions thrust upon them this year. The revival series was meant to act as the Blues Train’s saving grace.
“Over the last 500+ days, we’ve exhausted all ongoing Government support options. These shows would have seen an injection of funds into the business that would have relaunched the operation of the Train.
“Without these funds and a lack of ongoing Government support for our industry, we find ourselves, once again, in a dire situation.”
“While we are staying confident that The Blues Train will return to the tracks in 2022, we are in desperate need of your help to shake, rattle and roll once again.”
In lieu of the revival series, The Blues Train is reaching out to the community for help, encouraging donations to their GoFundMe Rescue Campaign and are making an impassioned plea to all 2021 show ticket holders to donate all or any portion of their Travel Credit for these cancelled shows to the campaign to keep the dream of returning to the rails alive.
Visit the Blues Train website to keep up to date with all the latest info and announcements.