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Update from The Blues Train’s Founder, Hugo T Armstrong

It’s with great pleasure that we can announce the pending restart of Queenscliff and the Bellarine’s iconic Blues Train.

The Blues train last operated on Saturday, 14 March 2020 and since then this business has proved to be one of the hardest hit products in Victoria due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

In the last 13 months, The Blues Train has faced many unprecedented challenges and has made numerous attempts to restart the business. Finally, we are now able to announce The Blues Train Revival Concert Series will start on the first Saturday in October 2021, with tickets going on sale to the general public from the 4th of May.

Naturally, there was no handbook on how to manage such a unique business during a Global pandemic. There have been moments of complete despair and the business has suffered significant financial losses, however, there have also been so many moments of incredible generosity and support received which has given everybody involved the incentive to continue with the business hibernation and the pending revival of Australia’s longest running Blues and Roots music venue, The Blues Train.

Founder and proprietor of The Blues Train, Hugo T Armstrong said  “I have been overwhelmed by the support of the community for this product that a group of us started 26 years ago, never envisaging the highs and the lows of the last 13 months. On the night we closed in March 2020 I said to the staff this will be a case of 1st to leave last to come back! It now appears that was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It will be impossible to thank everybody individually however a massive thank you to all the people who have supported us. The challenge is not over yet as we have faced significant financial losses and with the winding up of job keeper, we will need ongoing support to get right through until October when The Blues Train product starts to run again”.

October will take the form of regular trains under the banner “The Blues Train Revival Concert Series”, with thanks to support from the Borough of Queenscliff and the Melbourne Arts Centre. Later today we will be announcing our events dates and artist line-ups for October, with further announcements to come regarding November shows.

Ticket presales will occur from the 14th of April to our travel credit voucher holders, gift voucher holders, Go Fund Me campaign donors (campaign is continuing) and to our VIP Members List.  A full general on sale will occur on Tuesday, 4th of May to all members of the public.

In the meantime, we encourage everybody to join the VIP Member List or to update their details via the Blues Train website www.bluestrain.com.au/subscribe to secure your place in the presale of The Blues Train Revival Concert Series in October.

Below we have collated a list in no particular order of some of the key organisations and businesses that have supported us in the last 12 months. There are many more to thank and we apologise in advance if we missed anyone, it’s a big list! We have been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received, but we have a long way to go, and we will need help, especially from the Federal Government since the pulling of JobKeeper and ongoing support from other Government sectors and the general public. We are absolutely committed to the restart of this unique and incredible business. Our Go Fund Me campaign will continue until October 2021 or our target is met. www.gofundme.com/f/thebluestrain2020, and our gift vouchers are still available via the website https://www.thebluestrain.com.au/gift-cards/ 

Our thanks go to : The Bellarine Railway Board & Volunteers, Creative Vic, Victorian Government, Music Victoria, City of Greater Geelong (Arts, Culture & Heritage Department), Support Act, The Mayor, Councilors & Staff at Borough of Queenscliffe, Melbourne Arts Centre, Office of The Hon. Lisa Neville MP, Office of Christine Couzens MP, Tourism of Greater Geelong & Bellarine, Bay City Events Team – Kate & Ainslie, Bill & Staff at Batman Management Group, Save Our Scene, Go Fund Me, Business Victoria, Geelong Chamber of Commerce, Bell Group Accounting, One Rabbit/Wingmen, Digital Tourism Marketing, VMDO, PBS 106.7FM, QMF Pelican Bar Blues Train Show Case Events, VTIC, Regional Development Victoria, John Henshall and Ethos Urban, all of our musicians, and last but certainly not the least, my wife Desiree and daughter Astrid.

Hugo & The Blues Train Team

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