Meander Valley Gazette

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A lifetime of blues

Arts and ReviewsJoanne Eisemann
Legendary Australian rhythm and blues band Chain, celebrate 51 years as a band, appearing at the 22nd Forth Blues Festival in March.   Photo | Hayley Manning

Legendary Australian rhythm and blues band Chain, celebrate 51 years as a band, appearing at the 22nd Forth Blues Festival in March.

Photo | Hayley Manning

April 2019 | Hayley Manning

FOR SOME up and coming artists, the 22nd Forth Valley Blues Festival in March was their first big gig, while legendary Australian rhythm and blues outfit Chain celebrated their 51st year as a band. Kylie Rogerson, newly appointed President of the Forth Valley Blues Committee, will be taking the long-running music festival into the next century with strategies to increase future attendance, including a new online ticketing system, fresh upcoming artists and prominent headline bands.

Outdoor music festivals are one of the few remaining platforms for young artists to perform live. Music venues, especially on the mainland, are under threat due to noise restrictions, pokie invasions and increased scrutiny on drugs. “Some festivals in NSW have been going for years and years and have never had any overdose trouble,” said Phil Manning, founding member of Chain.

“Music venues are a great outlet for people to get their tensions out, to get rid of stress from work or whatever, and if people don’t have that, it will eventually explode in society in a negative way. “Venues in Melbourne have been forced to close down by new residents who have moved into the area knowing a venue exists nearby. It is corrupt developers and the government…”

Phil credits Chain’s longevity to a love of playing music and practice. “If you have a band, you’ve got to practice,” he said. “The more work you do, the more chemistry you will have on stage. And that is one thing Chain has always been really proud of … the fact that we have always had quite a strong chemistry between the musicians.”