The Blues Train Story
From little things big things grow!
In 1994 a group of four amazing people had a restaurant/cafe in point Lonsdale, which is still there today called Pasquini’s. At the time, they were also running a Function Centre at the historic Homestead and winery, Suma Park located at Marcus Hill.
The proprietors at the time were two couples, Rick and Carol and Martin and Maria, who moved to The Bellarine from Mansfield. Maria was and still is an incredible opera singer. Pasquini’s had the idea of holding an event on the local heritage train line as part of the winter concert series. Local music entrepreneur and radio broadcaster Hugo T Armstrong was approached to help come up with a concept for the train component and to be part of the shows.
The Blues Train is Born
Hugo having a passion for blues and roots music instantly said why don’t we call it The Blues Train? Along with Maria, he soon gathered a group of musicians and other local performers to put together the entertainment for the evening on the train.
Needless to say, the event was an immediate hit! This unique experience of a beautiful and majestic steam train pulling carriages of people along the Bellarine railway soon proved to be a night of entertainment, singing and dancing and a few sore heads the next morning!
In 1994, the concept of The Blues Train was the very first one of its kind in the world. Although it was initially one part of a winter concert series of at the historic Suma Park Homestead, patrons and organisers soon decided that there was enough following and enthusiasm for the event to run a couple of times a year.
As popularity grew, Hugo became more involved in the event and eventually became a business partner in The Blues Train. This partnership lasted for 13 years until the retirement of Pasquinis Deli from the train. The cafe and restaurant is one of the most popular destinations in point Lonsdale main street to this day and operates all year round. Hugo and the team still have a strong connection and share pride in the foundation of the blues train concept way back in 1994.
Over Two and Half Decades Later
Thinking back to that very first night, little did anyone know that what they had created would be operating over two and a half decades later. The Blues Train has now brought entertainment and joy to over 300,000 people. It’s also produced hundreds and hundreds of performances, whilst supporting hundreds of artists and entertainers from all over this wide red land, and many from America, Europe and Canada. You just never know who you are gonna see on The Blues Train!
In recent years Hugo and his company, Bay City Events, have continued to build The Blues Train experience to become one of the most memorable and unforgettable tourism attractions in Victoria and Australia. The night brings together people from all over Australia and the world to join in a celebration of live music and be entertained by the best Australian and international blues and roots entertainers.
The Must Do Experience on Every Music Lovers Bucket list
The events have now developed to be a bucket list experience for many people of all ages. Although the concept of a night on a steam train with four Blues and Roots entertainers, dinner and a show stays the same, every night on The Blues Train is different. Many visitors return again and again to view a favourite performer, or a brand-new act that they never knew existed.
The Blues Train has become renowned as a world class unique experience for family and friends celebrating birthday and Christmas parties, or just get-togethers on a night out with your best friends, lifelong partner or maybe even your future partner!
We look forward to welcoming you on board The Blues Train for an unforgettable experience. You’ll get to meet Hugo T and all the gang at the gate, as he’s always there to welcome everybody.
So, what are you waiting for? Get on board and come on shake rattle and roll with us on Australia’s longest running Blues & Roots music venue!
Australia’s unforgetable entertainment and event experience on everyone’s bucket list.
The buck stops with us. We are responsible for the decisions we make, we take the credit when things go right and we front up when they go wrong. We are accountable for our staff, or customers and ourselves.
We are all about the customer experience. We strive to ensure that every passenger leaves the train with unforgeable positive memories and we do this in a safe and secure environment.
We are not afraid to ask the hard questions and have the difficult conversations.
Collaboration and Partnership
Our team extends beyond our staff. Without the musicians, the railway, service providers and marketing we are not possible. We are an extended family, we need each other.
We are passionate about the music, about the industry and about the experience we provide to our passengers.
We entertain! We promote fun throughout our team and we sell fun to our customers. We bring the party!
Hugo T Armstrong
“Ayotollah of Rrrock anda Rolla” – Founder, proprietor and the face of the operation. He’s a local lad and has been working in the independent music scene for 25 years, notably for his 21-years on radio at PBSFM and 6 years as Artistic Director of the Queenscliff Music Festival (1998 – 2004).
He is active in Geelong tourism and business and has many, many other feathers to his cap!
The Blues Train is proud to partner with the following organisations:
Each year The Blues Train donates in excess of $25,000 worth of goods to fundraising activities.
We would be delighted to consider donating to your fundraising efforts.
A standard Blues Train Donation Pack is valued at $320 consists of:
- 1 x Blues Train Gift Voucher, to the value of 2 x event tickets – valid for travel within 3 months from your event date.
- 18+ only, T&C’s apply, see website for details
PLEASE NOTE: Blues Train donations MUST NOT be bundled with other items or vouchers – including but not limited to accommodation vouchers – to produce a “Package” without prior written authorisation from The Blues Train.
Larger donation packs will be considered for fundraiser events for national not-for-profit charities and/or significant local charities and events. These will be considered on a case by case basis.
When evaluating donation applications we take into consideration the following:
- The nature of the cause/event
- Estimated number of event attendees
- If you have previously applied or run your event
- Marketing and acknowledgement of The Blues Trains donation
- Opportunities for future promotions
- Total of your event prize pool
- Cost per raffle ticket if you are fundraising this way
- Suitable lead time between receiving the request and the date of the event
- Opportunity to send a post event Blues Train discount offers via email to your attendees
To submit your request for our consideration, please complete this form