As you can imagine, back in 1994, none of us dreamed that The Blues Train would be still rocking the rails 30 years later. Co-founder and proprietor of The Blues Train Hugo T Armstrong said “the concept arose from humble beginnings and none of the original founders imagined it would still be going 30 years later”. Naturally, in the beginning, Hugo was charged with curating the entertainment because of his extensive background in the music industry along with hosting his own radio show on PBS 106.7FM. After the first 15 years, Hugo’s original business partners, Pasquini’s Deli, retired from the business, and Hugo has continued on as the sole proprietor to this day.

“After 30 years and hundreds of shows, The Blues Train has showcased some the best of Blues and roots music to over 250,000 people, many of whom were not familiar with the genre of music prior to our shows,” Hugo said.

The combination of the music, the food, the drinks and of course the hero product – the incredible steam train and historic carriages operated by the volunteers of the Bellarine Railway, PLUS the location of Queenscliff and the Bellarine is a proven perfect combination. Some people just come for the night, but most people come and visit the region for the whole weekend with family and friends, visitors from overseas and to celebrating special occasions or just a weekend away. I think what is most incredible is that so many people come back and bring friends, many of them have come back to celebrate milestone birthdays or just to catch up with old friends.

Not only is The Blues Train a great stepping stone for musicians who want to break into the festival market or local venues all around Australia and overseas, it also provides a vital opportunity for emerging artists to get a foot in the music industry door and obtain regular employment. We’ve been lucky to have some of the best Blues and Roots musicians to ever exist in Australia perform on the shows,” Hugo added.

“Victorian Blues societies have also worked hard over the decades alongside established, emerging and young artists promoting multitudes of programs celebrating Blues and Roots musicians. Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society also regularly facilitates and promotes programs for “Youth in Blues” and “Women in Blues” which is a credit to them and their members. I have also been passionate about getting young performers to take up this genre of music, but also in recent years we are seeing an increase in female artists in the Blues and Roots genre” Hugo said.

Hugo recommends people book early, secure their accommodation, and come down and find out what it’s all about. Come and shake, rattle and roll on The Blues Train. He will be there to welcome you along with 200 guests, all looking for a great night out, creating new memories with family, friends and even making some new friends whilst being entertained by the best of Australia’s Blues and Roots artists. The Blues Train has added another three new shows to the public to celebrate its 30th birthday, with special performances scheduled for April 20th, and 27th and May 4th

Hugo T, Armstrong. Founder and Proprietor of The Blues Train, Established 1994.

“The Blues Train has been one of the most important cornerstones of my blues career. Performing on it for the past 15 years has given me the opportunity to be heard by thousands of people I never would have reached otherwise. I have deep respect and gratitude to Hugo and the team for all they have done for me and the other women in blues. I don’t think you can even measure the impact it has had on tourism to Queenscliff or the impact it has had on the careers or artists like me. 30 years is a massive achievement and is a testimony to Hugo’s passion, vision and dedication, RESPECT!”

Andrea Marr / The McNaMarr Project / Andrea Marr Band

“I can’t count the number of times I played The Blues Train, but I know it’s where I cut my teeth and grew from a musician to an entertainer. Our scene is so lucky to have a unique venue like this that’s dedicated to showcasing Australian Blues and bringing it to audiences that may never have heard us otherwise. Here’s to the next 30 years.”

Lloyd Spiegel

“The Maskell Love Band are thrilled to be part of the 30th Anniversary celebration of The Blues Train. It has been an incredible journey for us as artists, and we are honoured to have been a part of this iconic experience. The Blues Train has provided us with a unique platform to connect with our audience in a way that is truly special. The intimate setting, the rhythmic train ride, and the passionate blues enthusiasts create an atmosphere that is unmatched. We look forward to continuing this musical journey on The Blues Train and sharing our love for the blues with all who come aboard.”

Pete Maskell / The Maskell Love Band

“The Blues Train has given me a golden opportunity to connect with Australian audiences who genuinely value music as a vital part of their lives—and the Blues Train team members are so wonderful & welcoming to work with. There’s nowhere else like the Blues Train.”

Bret Mosley (USA)

“A ride on the blues train has a way to bring people together and into the present moment. It’s like for a moment we’ve all embarked on a crazy adventure together where we navigate holding ourselves up-right while being connected through the natural human experiences that blues music is good at helping us express. It’s about letting go, having fun and giving ourselves permission to just “go with it”

Erica Graf (Lazy Eye)

“Congratulations to Hugo and the Blues Train crew for creating 30 years of magical memories for punters and artists alike.  Playing on the Blues Train was always a pleasure. Every journey a rollicking blend of fabulous fun, food, music and laughter set across the backdrop of spectacular views of the Bellarine.”  

Kerri Simpson

“It’s always a joy performing on The Blues Train, .. an invitation to share stories and emotions that blues music conveys, a sense of camaraderie and community inclusiveness amongst audiences, and with the backdrop of the beautiful Bellarine Peninsular, a transportation to the ultimate spiritual blues experience of a great time!… a truly fantastic experience!”

Anthea ‘Jewels’ 

“The Von Robertsons have loved each show they’ve played on The Blues Train. As soon as that old train starts rolling and the set begins, we give it our all. 

We love connecting with each new audience as they move between the carriages, and always get a buzz from the responses to our music, particularly to our original songs.

What a brilliant attraction for the town of Queenscliff and the Bellarine, and what a wonderful experience for ticket buyers – live music in one of the most unique venues in the country!”

Andrea Roberson / The Von Robertsons

“We always have a great night when we play on the Blues Train, everyone is happy and there to have a good time. Its a unique experience, live music on a train that rides past the beautiful scenery of the Bellarine peninsula. We’ve met people from all over the world who have heard about the Blues Train and wanted to experience it. This includes a lady who flew from Ireland, arrived that day and was dancing with her daughter in our carriage that night!  We’ve met some of the best musicians playing in Australia. What is most rewarding is watching people let go of whatever problems they have, dance, singalong & laugh with the band. At the start of each show I say “the more fun you have, the more fun we have!” and they uphold that agreement.  The fact that the Blues Train has lasted for 30 years is testament to its popularity and a winning combination that can’t be found elsewhere.”

Laurel Parkinson / Laurel & The Painkillers

“Blues Train gigs are awesome fun and everyone is unique! From my perspective as an artist, I’m prepared to party my arse off on a Blues Train gig, because that’s what the punters are doing. The train is a good time guaranteed – just check out our videos – people smiling, dancing and having a ball!”

Phil Coyne / Phil Coyne & The Wayward Aces

“Miss Lou’s Blues love playing on The Blues Train. The audiences are so enthusiastic, and Hugo and the crew always take such good care of us.”

Bruce & Louise / Miss Lou’s Blues

“Such a great experience riding an iconic steam train down the tracks playin’ rock’nr’oll to an incredible audience. Unforgettable.”

Jeff / Stonetrain

“Congratulations to Hugo and the team for 30 years of making the Blues Train the best moving venue in the world! Here’s to rolling on for another 30! Lots of love!”

Felicia / Sweet Felicia

“I’ve been a performer on the Blues Train for more than 20 years, as a soloist, in a band and as a side man for some of the greatest blues acts in the country. It’s a true ‘one of a kind’ experience that brings together great music, food and friends on an authentic steam train. I love that train so much… I even wrote a song about it!”

Jimi Hocking