CLASSIC: Royal Mail Hotel publican Andrew Cafe and music promoter Cath Butler have been bringing live blues and roots music to Goodna for 31 years.
CLASSIC: Royal Mail Hotel publican Andrew Cafe and music promoter Cath Butler have been bringing live blues and roots music to Goodna for 31 years. David Nielsen

Royal Mail celebrates 31 rocking 'live' years

A FAMILY of musicians, staff and like-minded patrons with a passion for blues and roots music and life itself.

That is what the Royal Mail Hotel at Goodna has built a reputation for over the past 31 years.

Tomorrow the hotel will celebrate its 31st birthday of hosting live blues and roots music with a gig, from 1.30pm-4.30pm, by blue chip band 19-Twenty.

"This is a family here and there is a sense that this is a bit of an oasis," long-time publican Andrew Cafe said while explaining his pub's longevity in the live music scene.

"That makes it a pleasure to deal with the musicians and all the people we get here, because it is a such a part of our life."

Anyone who has been to the hotel knows that Mr Cafe's staff are the best in the business.

His daughter Addie leads the way and she is accompanied by bar staff who have the people skills to make the hotel feel like a home away from home.

It is a bit like the Hotel California where you feel as though you can never leave.

"I am very lucky that I have a great staff and they are integral to it. Some of them say they will be here for ever," Mr Cafe said.

"I feel obligated to them to keep it going and that makes my job so much easier.

"A guy from a venue on the Sunshine Coast called the Heads Shed came here recently, on a Saturday when we were busy, and he said to me 'your staff make you look good'.

"It was a beautiful backhander, and I will pay that. It is a true and beautiful comment.

"There has been a continuity between my immediate family, my staff family and the musical family which makes it very easy."

Music promoter at the pub, Cath Butler said the band playing tomorrow was a standout.

"19-Twenty are pretty much a festival favourite around the country at the moment," she said.

"They played Blues on Broadbeach and they played here first about eight or nine years ago when they were starting out.

"They are playing at the Boyne Island Festival in Gladstone and they said they would love to come back here and play, and it just so happened to be the 31st anniversary of us playing live music at The Mail, so it worked out really well.

"They are a three-piece now and they are a very energetic blues and roots act.

"I just saw them at the Mitchell Creek Rock and Blues Festival and they have a huge following, so we are expecting the pub to be packed on Sunday."

Ms Butler said all the bands that played at the Royal Mail were special but some of the biggest acts had played there over the years, including Mojo Webb, Ray Beadle, Lloyd Spiegel, Hat Fitz and Cara and Geoff Achison.

"The Royal Mail is always their stopping off point," she said.

"That's whether they are up and coming blues and roots acts trying to make their mark or they come back here because they love coming here. That is one of the things I get from all bands that play here, that they just love the place.

"They love the fact that the people who come here come to see and hear them play. They are here for the music. "This place is the closest you will get to a proper juke joint in Australia and we have won international awards for that."

Ms Butler had a long relationship with the national blues scene and the Blues Association of south-east Queensland before taking on the bookings role at the Royal Mail.

"I am a local and I have played here many times with my band," she said.

"I used to come here before that because it was my local place to get a live blues fix."

Mr Cafe chuckles when he relates how often it is the sons and daughters of patrons who pick up their parents from gigs, rather than the other way around.

"And that is quite a fun thing, isn't it?" he grinned.

So another 31 years?

"I hope I am around that long," he said.

It is kudos to Mr Cafe and his hotel that you would not count him out.

"They just know that the people that follow the band know this is a venue that is very relaxed," he said.

"It's great."