Save the date for the 36th International Blues Challenge
January 28 – February 1, 2020
FAQ SHEET FOR IBC COMPETING ACTS
WHAT IS REQUIRED UPON MY ARRIVAL BEFORE I CAN OFFICIALLY COMPETE?
Each competing act (both band and solo/duo) must check-in between 12 noon – 2:30 pm on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at location TBD. When you check-in you will receive your credentials, your IBC passes, and your Quarter-Finals venue assignment. We will not release venue assignments ahead of check-in.
Act Orientation will take place on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 2:45 pm at location TBD. A representative from each act is required to attend act orientation. Due to space limitations, only ONE representative from each act will be granted admission.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO WHEN I ARRIVE IF I AM A YOUTH SHOWCASE ACT?
The Youth Showcase is a one-day event held on Friday afternoon, January 31, 2020. Youth acts are not required to attend all five days of the IBC. Youth acts are required to check-in on Friday January 31, 2020 between 11am and 2:15pm at the Hard Rock Café, located at 126 Beale Street. When you check-in you will receive your credentials as well as your venue assignment. We will not release venue assignments ahead of check-in.
Youth Showcase Orientation will take place on Friday, January 31, 2020 at the location TBD beginning at 2:30pm. Any Act not checked in ahead of Act Orientation may be subject to disqualification.
The Youth Showcase is not judged, however all competition rules, regulations, and restrictions apply.
HOW MANY PASSES DOES EACH ACT RECEIVE FOR THE IBC?
You will receive passes for the number of musicians that you officially registered.
Please make sure you wear your pass at all times. Your pass will give you access to all IBC/ Blues Foundation events during the week to include workshops, panels, master classes, and IBC performances. Even if you do not advance to the Semifinals or to the Finals, your pass will give you access to all competition venues through the week, including the finals at the Orpheum Theatre.
HOW DO I GO ABOUT GETTING EXTRA PASSES?
The Blues Foundation will only provide passes to those members of your act who are officially registered to compete. If you need additional passes for your manager, tech support, driver, family members and/or friends, you will need to purchase those at blues.org or you can buy them at Will Call and Merchandise Sales located at Club 152, 152 Beale Street – 2nd Floor, during published operating hours each day. Passes are $100 per person.
If they would prefer, your friends, family, and support team may also purchase wristbands on Beale Street each night of the challenge rather than purchasing a pass for the entire event. Wristbands are not available for pre-purchase.
WHAT SHOULD WE BRING WITH US TO THE IBC? WHAT EQUIPMENT WILL BE PROVIDED?
- You will need your instruments! Please bring a DI if you use one.
- All backline equipment provided by The Blues Foundation will be high quality, professional gear that you should be familiar with.
- The use of wireless systems will depend upon the venue, soundperson, and time constraints.
- Midi and looping devices to enhance performances are not barred from the competition but are frowned on by the judges, as this competition is about LIVE music performance!
- Drummers will need to bring cymbals and a kick pedal. You may want to bring your snare, as well.
- Harp players are allowed to bring a harp amp, but this is not required as we will have a guitar amp available for use.
- Keyboard players may bring their own keys, but this is not required as an 88 keyed and weighted keyboard will be provided.
- All other backline will be provided. PLEASE NOTE: The backline in your venue will be based upon your registration information! The use of pedals, stomp boxes and other auxiliary equipment is allowed. We will not allow you to use your own guitar/bass amp during any round of the competition. Thank you in advance for NOT calling The Blues Foundation to ask for an exception to this rule, as we will not allow any exceptions.
WHERE WILL IBC COMPETING ACTS PERFORM?
All competing acts will play two nights of quarterfinals (Wednesday and Thursday) in a venue assigned by The Blues Foundation. Venue assignments are determined by backline need, first, and then by using a random formula to place competitors. Competitors will play in the same venue but at a different time slot on both Wednesday and Thursday nights, where different judges are assigned each evening. We will inform you of your quarter-final venue assignments at act check-in.
Venue assignments for the semifinals on Friday night will be assigned late Thursday night after announcements are made regarding those acts moving into the Semi-Finals. Acts may be assigned a different venue for the Semi-finals than for the Quarter-finals, or they may remain in the same venue. Again, venue assignments are determined by backline need, first, and then by using a random formula to place competitors.
WHAT SET LENGTH SHOULD I PREPARE FOR EACH ROUND?
- Quarter Finals – 25 minutes
- Semi Finals – 30 minutes
- Finals – 20 minutes
- Youth Showcase – 30 minutes
Note: There will be 10 minutes breaks between band performances and 5 minutes breaks between Solo/Duo Acts, to give you time to set up before you begin your performance.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHEN I AM COMPETING IN MY ASSIGNED VENUE?
The Blues Foundation will provide up to 4 volunteers in each venue:
- The VENUE COORDINATOR (VC) will be the contact for your venue. That person will direct and manage the stage. Please remember, your relationship is with The Blues Foundation and our representatives, not the venue.
- The TIME KEEPER (TK) will keep up with your performance set length. Your time begins when the act addresses the crowd or the first note is played, whichever comes first. The time stops when the last note is played or when the last word is spoken. Salutations and closing remarks count as part of your set time. The TK will operate the venue stop watch and alert you when you have 2 MINUTES remaining. You will also be signaled at the 1 MINUTE, 30 SECONDS mark and then again when TIME IS UP. Any act that runs over time will be penalized one point from the Total Weighted Score for every TEN SECONDS that it exceeds its set limit. Your venue coordinator may also apply penalty points for excessive time loading-in and out, at his or her discretion.
- The JUDGES ASSISTANT (JA) is charged with assisting the judges, preparing the score sheets, and maintaining the integrity of the scoring.
- A VENUE ASSISTANT (VA) will assist with stage duties and deliver the score sheets to Headquarters.
Each venue will provide a PA, sound engineer, mics and mic stands.
The Blues Foundation will provide backline based on your online registration form. Keys and B3s will be available to all acts that request them on their online registration form. The Blues Foundation cannot guarantee equipment requested after the registration deadline.
WHEN SHOULD I ARRIVE AT MY ASSIGNED VENUE?
All acts MUST arrive at their assigned venue at least 20 minutes before the FIRST act begins EACH NIGHT of the competition. Upon arrival each night, it is your responsibility to check in with your VENUE COORDINATOR (VC). Failing to check-in with the VC will automatically result in a one point deduction from your Total Weighted Score.
Performance times printed in our schedule are only a guideline, and should not be considered exact. Venues can and often do run ahead of schedule. As such, it is your responsibility to have at least one representative from your act in your venue at all times once the challenge begins, and that representative should be able to make contact with all members of the act at all times should they choose to leave the venue ahead of your performance. The venue may be missing an act, someone could be sick, or the venue could be running ahead of schedule, so you should be prepared to go on stage ahead of your assigned time should your Venue Coordinator request that of your act. If you are not ready to perform when the VC calls you, you will have points deducted from your Total Weighted Score, or you could be disqualified, regardless of the time printed in the schedule.
WHO DOES THE BLUES FOUNDATION SELECT AS ITS IBC JUDGES?
IBC judges are industry professionals and blues fans with years of experience in producing, promoting and attending blues music events. Each night of the quarter-finals, three different judges will evaluate you based on The Blues Foundation criteria. Those six total judges’s scores will determine who advances to the semi-finals. Three judges will evaluate each semi-finals act with those scores determining who advances to the finals. There will be 6 band judges and 6 different solo/duo judges seated for the IBC finals.
HOW MANY ACTS ADVANCE TO THE SEMI-FINALS AND THEN TO THE FINALS?
- 32 solo/duo acts will advance to the semi-finals. 8 total solo/duo acts will compete in the finals.
- 44 band acts will advance to the semi-finals. 9 total band acts will compete in the finals.
HOW DO I FIND OUT IF I HAVE ADVANCED TO THE NEXT ROUND OF THE COMPETITION?
On Thursday evening, as soon as scoring for all acts is completed and verified, The Blues Foundation will announce the names of the acts moving into the semi-finals from the stages of various clubs along Beale Street. We will also post this information on our social media sources (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and on the home page of our website (blues.org). The semifinal schedule will be posted online no later than noon Friday and will also be posted at Club 152.
On Friday evening, as soon as scoring for all acts is completed and verified, The Blues Foundation will announce the names of the acts moving into the finals from the stages of various clubs along Beale Street. We will also post this information on our social media sources (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and on the home page of our website (blues.org). The finals will begin at noon on Saturday, February 1 and acts will perform in an order based upon a random drawing, beginning with bands and rotating between bands and solo/duo acts.
ARE THERE AGE LIMITS ALONG BEALE STREET?
Beale Street age restrictions are as follows:
- On the street, all persons under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult after 10 pm.
- Individual clubs have their own age rules. Please check with the venue before bringing someone under the age of 18 into the club.
- All youth showcase venues are open to all ages during youth showcase times.
MAY I SELL MY CDs WHILE I AM AT THE IBC?
For IBC contestants only, The Blues Foundation will have volunteers on-site to assist you in selling your discs. CD sales will be available at our Will Call and Merchandise Sales space at Club 152 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from Noon-10 pm, each day.
Due to the number of acts competing in the IBC, we are accepting no more than one CD title per act. If you would like to participate in our CD sales program, we suggest you bring with you up to 100 copies of your most recent release. You may also mail up to 20 copies ahead of your arrival which MUST ARRIVE no later than January 20, 2020. The Blues Foundation IS NOT responsible for lost or late arrival of discs!
If you choose to pre-ship CDs, you should address your package as follows:
The Blues Foundation-IBC Discs
421 S. Main St
Memphis, TN 38103
Please watch for an email with details on this program and follow our instructions if you would like to participate.
NOTE: You may not sell discs from or in front of the stage before or after your performance. If someone asks, you may step outside or to the back of the room to complete transactions. The most important act in any venue is the one that is on the stage!
The Blues Foundation will not sell any merchandise other than CDs on behalf of any IBC act. We also ask that you not have anyone walking through the crowd selling your merchandise while you (or any other act) are on stage performing.
HOW CAN I MAKE THE MOST OF MY TIME AT THE IBC?
- The Blues Foundation will be programming a series of events, panels, networking opportunities and master classes for IBC contestants. Please check the Blues Foundation website for the entire IBC schedule with specific information about these activities.
- There will be jams each night in a number of venues. Your venue coordinator will have more information for you about how you might participate in a jam.
- Pay it forward and create some good Karma! Please help the acts coming before and after you with loading and unloading on the stage, and with an expectation that they will help you too. This will make the entire event go much smoother for all parties, and especially for your fans. While you are competing for the grand prizes, the real value of the IBC is the networking opportunities and friendships you will make. This year’s competitor might be next year’s bandmate.
- Have fun! Take in everything that Memphis and The Blues Foundation has to offer. The Blues Foundation staff and our Board of Directors are here to assist you. Feel free to contact us with your questions.
Crowd Photo Release: All challengers and fans in attendance of Blues Foundation events, consent to their voice, name, and/or likeness being used, without compensation, in photographs, video, and other media, whether now known or hereafter devised, for eternity, and you release The Blues Foundation, its employees, and volunteers, from any liability whatsoever of any nature.