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International Blues Challenge 2015

The Memphis Blues Society has announced the call for Bands and Solo/Duo Acts to compete in the Memphis Blues Society “Road To The Challenge” Competition.  This will be held October 8 – 9 from 7pm on at Rum Boogie Café on Beale Street.
Any Band holding a Band Membership ($50.00, good for five individual memberships) in the Memphis Blues Society may compete.  If not already a Band Member they may send their Band’s Membership Dues along with the application fee.   Application Fee is $20.00 per act.  Only the first ten acts who qualify will be selected.  If your act is not selected to compete, your application fee will be returned.

No applications will be accepted after the official deadline postmark date of September 30, 2014.  Please mail to: MEMPHIS BLUES SOCIETY - 168 BEALE STREET (UPSTAIRS), C/O RCMG, MEMPHIS, TN 38103, with a courtesy copy to band coordinator Dave Bennett at

Additionally, this year The Memphis Blues Society is looking for a “Youth Showcase” Act to represent our Society. There is no competition for this honor.  Please submit band information to  (NOTE: ALL members must be under 21 until at least January 24, 2015).
 One Band and One Solo/Duo act will be chosen by two sets of judges over a two night challenge for the honor of representing the Memphis Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge held on January 20 - 24, here in Memphis.
Here are some of the basic rules as established by the Blues Foundation:

• An act is limited to two consecutive appearances at the IBC and must then sit out at  least one year before being eligible to compete again. An act under the same name will not be allowed to compete three consecutive years.

• An individual may not compete in more than one act in any capacity. 
• A musician cannot compete in the Band Division and the Solo/Duo Division, even if 

that musician represents a different Affiliate in each.

• Affiliates are allowed and often do impose additional eligibility restrictions for their own competitions. 

What is a band? What is a solo/duo? What is youth?

• The IBC adheres to the following criteria for what constitutes a band, what constitutes a solo/duo act, and what constitutes as a youth act.

• Band - any act with three or more musicians. Vocalists are counted as musicians for the purpose of this competition. Both electric and acoustic instruments are allowed.

• Solo/Duo - any act with one or two musicians. Vocalists are counted as musicians for the purpose of this competition. Both electric and acoustic instruments are allowed.

• Youth - any act that all members are under the age of 21 at the time of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. PLEASE NOTE: Youth acts can be appointed by the board of an affiliate. A competition is not required.

Additionally, this year, the Memphis Blues Society has instituted the following for the “Road To The Challenge”.

Any act wishing to be considered must have a social media presence (Website, Facebook, Reverbnation, even Myspace)

FINALLY, The MBS is also soliciting entrants for "Best Self-Produced CD" competition. 

Entrants must send the MBS 6 copies of their self-produced CD for ranking by an independent panel of judges SELECTED BY THE Memphis Blues Society Board.  

Deadline for Entries is October 1, 2014 to allow for selection of candidate by the Memphis Blues Society.  Completed entry packages must be received by the MBS at 168 BEALE STREET (UPSTAIRS), C/O RCMG, MEMPHIS, TN 38103 by October 1.

The MBS will then pay the winning entrant $15.00 each for 4 CDs to be sent to the national selection panel selected by the Blues Foundation.


  • The CD entered does not have to be performed by the band entered in the 2015 International Blues Challenge.

• The CD must have been released during November 1, 2012 - October 31, 2014 time 
• Judging will be in three stages. There will be two rounds of judging by radio/print people leading to the final judging. 

• The finalists will be announced prior to IBC weekend. Music professionals will judge the finalists and the winner will be announced at the IBC finals.

• Judges will evaluate:

(1) Blues Content

(2) Musical Performance

(2) Audio Quality of the Presentation

(3) Cover Art and Design

(4) Credits and Liner Information

• A performer who has previously been nominated for a Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Blues Award) shall not be eligible for this competition. 

• A CD issued in the name of an otherwise eligible performer which also includes the contributions of a Blues Music Award nominee may be ineligible, depending on the extent of the contribution. 

• A CD on a record label that has been previously nominated for a Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Blues Award) shall not be eligible for this competition.

• Compilations are not eligible. 

• Singer, band, society or local producer may produce the actual CD as long as the performer is a singer, band or other individual entity.

• Recordings with established or "known" producers within the industry are eligible as long as the recording is on the artist's independent label and not on an established national 

• If a recording was produced independently but an established blues label has purchased the master for distribution, the recording is still eligible until such time as the established blues label releases the recording.