2017 International Blues Challenge will be January 31-February 4, 2017. The International Showcase will open the event on January 31 with competition rounds February 1-4 in venues located on historic Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Registration will open October 1, 2016. Registration deadline is November 24, 2016.
The list of current blues artists that have competed in the International Blues Challenge over the years is impressive indeed: Barbara Blue, Fiona Boyes, Eden Brent, the late Michael Burks, Sean Carney, Albert Castiglia, Tommy Castro, Grady Champion, the late Sean Costello, Albert Cummings, Delta Moon, Larry Garner, Joey Gilmore, Diunna Greenleaf, Zac Harmon, Homemade Jamz Blues Band, Richard Johnston, Robin Rogers, Matthew Skoller, JP Soars, Super Chikan, Susan Tedeschi, Teeny Tucker, Trampled Under Foot and Watermelon Slim.
The 2016 Winners are:
Band 1st place – The Delgado Brothers, Ventura County Blues Society
Solo/Duo 1st place – Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons, Washington Blues Society
Band 2nd place – The Paul DesLauriers Band, Montreal Blues Society
Solo/Duo 2nd place – InnerVision, Columbus Blues Alliance
Band 3rd place – The Norman Jackson Band, Lake of the Ozarks Blues Society
Band Guitar– The Delgado Brothers, Ventura County Blues Society
Solo Guitar– Bing Futch, Orange Blossom Blues Society
Best Self-Produced CD – Rob Lumbard, Blues in a Bottle, Central Iowa Blues Society
Best Harmonica Player Award – InnerVision, Columbus Blues Alliance
“Winning the International Blues Challenge is better than having a $100,000 publicity budget.” 2004 IBC winner and 2006 Blues Music Award Best New Artist Zac Harmon
“This was my first year attending the International Blues Challenge and it was better than any festival I have ever attended.” Eddie Bagwell, Tulsa Blues Society.
“The amount of talent that gathered in Memphis was staggering. I have to admit it sent chills down my spine whenever I looked around and realized I was in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge and that I actually knew some of these performers on stage. Goose bump time! We were able to see 35+ IBC performers and I can honestly say everyone we saw was talented and truly belonged there. Everything we heard was pure blues, and this was one time I was glad I was not judging.” Chick Cavallero, Colorado Blues Society
IBC has evolved into the nation’s biggest and most respected showcase for Blues musicians ready to take their act to the national stage. The IBC is a judged “Battle of the Bands” in which competitors take the stage and play a short set for a panel of judges. The acts are judged based on an established set of criteria.
The International Blues Challenge represents an international search by The Blues Foundation and its Affiliated Organizations (mostly blues societies) for the Blues Band and Solo/Duo Blues Act ready to perform on a national stage, but just need that extra break. Each Affiliate of The Blues Foundation has the right to send a band and solo/duo act to represent the organization at the IBC Semi-Finals on Beale Street in Memphis, TN.
Affiliates are required to stage a regional preliminary IBC competition, with the winner of that competition representing the organization in the Memphis international competition. Usually, these preliminary rounds are held in clubs as part of a fundraiser or simply an excitement-building event. Each organization is free to structure the preliminary round as it sees fit, as long as a single band and/or solo/duo act is identified. However, since The Blues Foundation scoring criteria will determine the ultimate winner, we strongly encourage our Affiliates to use the same system in the preliminary competitions.