Family ties lead to a life of blues By Liz Rogers

Patrick Elliget, the winner of the 2017 Alan Stafford Service Award to Blues Music, is pretty laid-back.  Softly spoken and a straight shooter, this Sorrento-born boy grew up in a musical household where his stay-at-home mum, plumber dad and four brothers and five sisters lived the ideal coastal life. There was the family band where he and three brothers and one of his sisters jazzed it up for about 10 years, and summer days hanging out at 3XY concerts on the beach. Hovering outside the Sorrento RSL listening to Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons, Daddy Cool and the La De Das - Daryl Cotton and the Zoot. What a hoot!

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Patrick’s father, Walter, was the church organist and sounded Last Post for 30 years at the RSL.  We both agree the sound of that bugle still has the power to make us shiver.  Young Patrick had always wanted to be a professional muso and at 18 he was obsessed with becoming a drummer, but after selling his drum kit to finance his first car, he fell into being an anaesthetic technician. He explains.

“I didn’t think I’d be organising blues events when I stopped drumming all those years ago. I didn’t think I’d become an anaesthetic technician either, but I love my job at Peninsula Private Hospital in Frankston. It’s really interesting work because you are exposed to all social demographics. I always play music in the operating theatre because it calms the patients and I like listening to it too.”  BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Lee Hooker and Dutch Tilders just get better the more he listens to them.

Patrick’s Mornington Peninsula Blues Sessions is a boutique indoor festival held at the Peninsula Community Theatre in Wilsons Rd, Mornington, every summer and winter. World-class blues musicians are on show - think Phil Manning, Matt Taylor, Jimi Hocking, Lloyd Spiegel, Claude Hay, Geoff Achison and Chris Finnen to begin with - and there’s space for 250 people around tables. There’s also food trucks, beer and wine and plenty of get down and boogie.  Most of the sessions have been recorded and next March will be the seventh. Patrick continues. 

“I was invited to the 2017 MBAS Victas Blues Music Awards Night in October as a guest presenter of the Duo of the Year Award. I had no idea I was going to receive an award myself. I mean, people like Helen Jennings (PBS), Max Crawdaddy (3RRR), Hugo Armstrong, who started and still runs the iconic Blues Train in Queenscliff, have won it. Alan Stafford was the founding member and first president of the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society. He was a regular at the Station Hotel in Prahran during the legendary Australian blues artist Dutch Tilder’s residency there. During those early days in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s he decided Melbourne blues artists and fans needed a promotional/support group and this is how MBAS originated. The award has given me a real injection of energy and encouragement. We’ve come a long way and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Our sound technician, Mark Mayle, always brings it home.”

If you’re looking for a live event to sink your teeth into next March, the Mornington Peninsula Blues Sessions is the one for you. There’s a real cross-section of acoustic and electric guitarists playing and the groove is tight. This Mount Martha resident who loved listening to the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie while growing up puts together a diverse line-up that soothes the soul blues-style.


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