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Feast of Blues on the Agenda

September 24, 2014

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THE DOCKLANDS BLUES MUSIC FESTIVAL runs from 11am – 9pm on Sunday October 5, 2014 at Harbour Town Docklands (Melbourne Star Observation Wheel and Wonderland Spiegeltent Precinct). This is a FREE all day music event and everyone is welcome.

THE Docklands Blues Music Festival is set to celebrate its biggest year yet with 10-hours of entertainment featuring 20 artists across five stages this October.

Initially launched as the Docklands Arts, Laughs and Blues Festival, it has evolved over previous years into its own featured event, to be held this year on Sunday October 5.

The free family-friendly event is staged by the Wonderland Fun Park crew who also look after the stunning Wonderland Spiegeltent which will play host to one of the blues stages on the day.

Wonderland Fun Park Festival director Melissa Davis says this year’s line-up brings together some of Australia’s top blues bands. “It is the biggest line-up in the festival’s history, with a blend of soul, rock and contemporary blues to suit all fans,” she says. “The event features international artists from Germany – The Johnny Rieger Band – and festival favourites Dream Boogie, Dan Dinnen, Blue Eyes Cry, and the brilliantly entertaining Jimi Hocking.”

The full-line-up of the event includes Johnny Rieger Band (Germany), Justin Yap Band, Kelly Auty’s Wild Women, MBAS Youth in Blues, Mojo T’ree, Nick Charles, Oscar Lalor Band, Rod Paine & The Fulltime Lovers, Blue Eyes Cry, Brian Fraser, Dan Dinnen, Desert Blues Cartel, Dreamboogie, Greg Dodd & The Hoodoo Men, Jesse Valach & Blues Mountain, Jimi Hocking Band, John McNamara, Safari Motel, Sweet Felicia & The Honeytones, Wayne Jury and Supporting Women in Blues Band.

Throughout the event of continuous blues music there are licensed seated venues, outdoor stages, good ol’ southern blues cuisine, carnival rides and attractions.

The five blues stages are all situated within the Docklands Harbour Town precinct. The Melbourne Star Stage, which features music from 11am until 3.30pm, is directly under the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, the Groove Train Stage, which runs from 12.30pm-3.30pm is at the corner of Star Circus and Wharf Street, and the Harbour Town Hotel Stage is directly across the road from the Wonderland Fun Park and runs from 12.30pm-4pm.

There is also the Mall Stage within the Harbour Town Shopping Centre, running from 12pm-3pm, and the Wonderland Spiegeltent Stage, which is located within the Wonderland Fun Park, just behind the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel and kicks off at 2pm, running through until the festival wraps up at 9pm.

The Docklands Blues Music Festival is 100 per cent supported by the City of Melbourne. “It is important to present such events throughout the year to promote the area,” says Melissa. “It gives residents an opportunity to come out and play, discovering Docklands’ arts, new restaurants and explore the area, and for new visitors to discover this amazing new part of the Docklands precinct.”


THE Melbourne Star Stage line-up includes Desert Blues Cartel, Safari Motel, Justin Yap Band, Sweet Felicia & The Honeytones and Rod Paine & The Fulltime Lovers. Desert Blues Cartel will transport audiences to a world of overt aural decadence steeped in the darkest of blues and gypsy music.
With band members from extensive musical backgrounds varying between post-rock, indie-pop, punk, country and blues, the Desert Blues Cartel form a captivating and compelling post-modern musical outfit to perform an eccentric, eclectic roots music mix.
When Safari Motel starts playing, the audience is hooked and they can’t help but find themselves staying for the whole gig. Nicole Nehemia’s powerhouse vocals are fast becoming the benchmark throughout the Melbourne Blues music scene. Her onstage presence and energy is a spectacle to behold and she’s backed by seasoned and accomplished blues musos who have had several years together in various outfits, perfecting and developing their delivery.
With their first album Long Way From Home debuting at #3 on the Australian Blues Charts, the Justin Yap Band plays a potent blend of deep blues, sanctified soul and down-home funk. Led by guitarist Justin Yap, the band delivers electrifying, dynamic and energetic performances. Paired with the raw and sultry vocals of Nardia Brancatisano, along with the combined talents of Ollie Rolfe (keys and Hammond), Dean Sanelli (bass) and Louis Goutos (drums), the Justin Yap Band has a tight and exciting sound not to be missed.
Sweet Felicia charms audiences around Australia with her distinctive and powerful, yet touching vocals and bass work. The Honeytones swings hard and her music reminds us of the hot clubs of the 40s and 50s. Sweet Felicia played bass for Lil Fi and the Delta Rhythm Kinds for four and a half years and during this time a highlight was supporting the legendary BB King. She has numerous accolades to her credit, including semi-finalists in the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis USA.
With one of Australia’s best blues guitarists, a killer rhythm section with 20-years’ experience playing together and the vocals and harp playing of blues veteran Rod Paine, The Fulltime Lovers bring it one with low-down, dirty and smokin’ blues. The Fulltime Lovers are Rod Paine (vocals and harmonica), Dave Birtwell (guitar), Tony Harwood (bass) and Ray ‘TT Slim’ Tully (drums). To imagine their sound, think Fabulous Thunderbirds, Little Walter, Guitar Slim, Lazy Lester, Muddy Waters, Slim Harpp and you get the picture of this old-school combo.


THE Wonderland Spiegeltent Stage features a bill with the likes of Jesse Valach & Blues Mountain, Blue Eyes Cry, Kelly Auty’s Wild Women, Dreamboogie, Greg Dodd & The Hoodoo Men, Johnny Rieger Band and Jimi Hocking Band. With dedication, hard work, devotion and a killer rhythm section to boot, Jesse Valach & Blues Mountain have produced a tight, riveting live show.

With their debut album coming in at #3 on the Australian Blues and Roots Radio Airplay Charts and remaining in the Top 16 for just over a year, it is a definite testimony to their talent. They’ve performed close to 200 shows this past year including festivals such as the Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival and Echuca Blues Festival.

Fronted by the strong, soulful blues voice of Iseula Hingano and backed by a cooking band led by Nathan Brett (guitar), Blue Eyes Cry are a young energetic blues act on the rise. With Stuart Prendergast (bass) and Cameron Smith (drums), Blue Eyes Cry tour nationally and perform regularly at blues festivals as well as their home base of Melbourne. Don’t miss this great act!

Kelly Auty delivers a dynamic set of blues, gospel, R&B, soul, rock, country, French chanson and jazz to delight fans. Renowned for passionate and exhilarating performances, she leaves audiences wanting more as she sings favourites from such greats as Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Bonnie Raitt, Eartha Kitt, Edith Piaf, Peggy Lee, Janis Joplin, Etta James, Eva Cassidy and Aretha Franklin. She’s a dynamo, recognised as a great vocalist and inspiring performer she delivers outstanding shows in her distinctive style.

Since their reformation in early 2010, Dreamboogie have toured nationally, performing at major festivals, pubs, bars and private functions. This band of respected blues musicians comprises of Robert B. Dillon (drums), Connor O’Neil (bass), Sam Buckley (guitar) and is led by the irrepressible Rebecca Davey (vocals), who delivers a powerful performance with the assay wit and attitude of the great blues mammas. Dreamboogie were winners of the 2011 MBAS Blues Performer of the Year, appearing at the international Memphis IBC competition.

Consisting of some of Melbourne’s finest blues musicians, Greg Dodd & The Hoodoo Men are heavily influenced by the early recordings made in Chicago on the Chess and Delmark labels, and covering artists such as Muddy Waters, Howling Wolfe, Buddy Guy, Little Walter & Junior Wells. Featuring Dan Dinnen on vocals and blues harp, their performances are a mixture of up-tempo swings, shuffles and boogies, along with slow blues with fiery guitar licks and dynamic harmonica riffs – all delivered straight from the heart!

Johnny Rieger is like no other artist in Germany for the ‘New Generation of Blues’. Thanks to his distinctive voice and his enthusiasm, he perfectly combines traditional and modern styles of performance. The band plays modern blues: radio compatible, rocking, fresh, but in the tradition of classics. Together with Matthias Scherer (bass) and Michael Jochum (drums), Johnny Rieger has played over 300 concerts at festivals and clubs in the US, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Poland.

Jimi Hocking is a songwriter, singer and guitarist of the highest calibre, the electric lovechild of T-Bone Walker, BB King and Jimi Hendrix. He struts the stage with his band, playing his ‘showy’ guitar style while pulling all the classic stunts… behind the head… the duck walk… even the splits! Jimi is in his element live, whether it be a small café or a massive festival. His combination of banter and storytelling, wailing blues guitar and mandolin with superb songwriting and performance makes Jimi one of the must-see acts.


THE Groove Train Stage features three stellar sets by Mojo T’ree throughout the day. Way down in Victoria’s deep-south on the Mornington Peninsular is Mojo T’ree – all parts roots blues cruise, swamp and Rasta and fronted by a unique male/female combo – Ian Treloar and Ree Liddell.

This duo is blessed with strong song lines, soaring vocals / harmonies, earthy rhythms and a truck load of instruments including an eight string acoustic guitar-synth, Dobro resonator mandolin, bass, drums and stomp. As well as touring and performing at festivals, they have played benefits for fundraisers and many local charities.


THE Harbour Town Mall Stage line-up features MBAS Youth in Blues, Wayne Jury, Oscar Lalor Band and Supporting Women in Blues Band.

The Youth In Blues is an initiative of the MBAS (Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society) held annually to encourage the next generation of blues musicians.

The Youth in Blues Program aims to help budding young blues musicians and vocalists gain confidence and experience with the guidance and mentorship of established blues musicians and music industry professionals. This performance showcases recent young stars of the YIB Program performing alongside some of their music mentors.

Wayne’s initiation into the world of music began in Geelong supporting Australia’s finest touring bands of the day, including AC/DC, Ayres Rock, Little River Band, Buggalo, Cold Chisel, Dragon, Hush and TMG.

Wayne Jury has since gone on to play thousands of gigs all over Australia, including opening for blues greats Robert Cray, Albert Collins, Canned Heat and Buddy Guy with his band Black Cat Moan. He has performed consistently over the years with various groups and is currently a program co-ordinator and performance mentor as part of the Youth in Blues Program.

Oscar Lalor is a 20-year-old musician from the surf coast of Victoria and his music is influenced and inspired by greats such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Robben Ford, Pink Floyd and Santana who have all moulded the style he carried with him today. His roots are in the blues/rock idiom but he also takes influence from a lot of jazz and pop music which he develops into his original compositions.

With a skilful ensemble of blues women, this dynamic group has arisen from Melbourne’s Supporting Women in Blues (WIB) program.

Heading up the WIB band for this festival is Zerafina Zara on vocals and rhythm guitar. Zerafina sings like a whiskey-soaked angel. She has recorded originals with members of Paul Kelly’s band, toured nationally and internationally and to quote Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum, ‘wow this girl can really sing’! She is accompanied by Rhiannon Simpson on powerhouse lead guitar, Anna Scionte and driving bass, Michelle Johns grooving it with feeling on keys and Michelle Morrison beatin’ it out on drums.


THE line-up on the Harbour Town Hotel Stage includes Dan Dinnen, Brian Fraser, Nick Charles and John McNamara. Finger-picking acoustic guitar with tasty blues harp and warm, soulful vocals. Dan Dinnen plays originals and standards – from smoking ballads to juke-joint stomps with authentic feel and unique style. Dan also brings his vocals and blues harp to the newly formed Greg Dodd & The Hoodoo Men. Dan was a winner of the 2009 MBAS Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Brian Fraser is a multi-award winning blues singer, songwriter and guitarist with over 30-years’ experience in the music industry. His hectic schedule includes spending most months of every year touring the country, performing at festivals, pubs and clubs, playing his own brand of stompboard driven blues with humorous storytelling. Brian is a talented solo performer and entertainer.

The multi award-winning Nick Charles is a class act revered by peers and critics as one of the finest finger-pickers and players in the land, and widely respected internationally as being at the top of his game. Various guitars and mandolins become one with the player as he caresses the great blues classics from the strings. With his great knowledge and a rich repertoire gained from a longstanding, celebrated music career, Nick truly is following the tradition of the best of the travelling troubadours.

Taking cues from soul greats such as Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Booby Bland, John McNamara delivers an emotionally charged performance, with fiery blues and slick guitar playing, making him a must-see artist. John has worked as an opening act for touring performers such as Jon Stevens, Rick Price, Diesel, Shannon Noll and Russell Morris. John has found acoustic soul and blues to be the perfect showcase for his guitar playing and powerful voice, with a style and delivery that stays authentic to blues roots.



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