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The Blues Foundation’s 33rd Annual International Blues Challenge

Posted by Slinger Straps on 11/29/2016 to News
The Blues Foundation’s 33rd Annual International Blues Challenge

The long-awaited 33rd Annual International Blues Challenge (IBC) by The Blues Foundation is finally around the corner! This February, Memphis will once again prove itself to be the “Home of the Blues,” as the IBC will be held on the iconic Beale Street in this historic city in Tennessee.

From February 1 to February 4, 2017, blues musicians from around the world will gather in Memphis to compete for prizes, cash, and bookings, in categories spanning from Band, Solo/Duo, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica Player, to Self-Produced CD. The finals round of the competition will be held at Memphis’ grand Orpheum Theatre on February 4, the last day of the festival. In addition to incredible live blues performances, the five-day-long IBC will offer a series of workshops, networking events, seminars, a silent auction, and affiliated blues society receptions. The Challenge’s alumni will include musicians such as Susan Tedeschi, Delta Moon, and Tommy Castro.

International Blues Challenge Slinger Straps


Over the years, the IBC has grown to become USA’s biggest and most prestigious platform for rising blues musicians who strive to take their acts to the national stage. The challenge is a judged “Battle of the Bands” in which competitors play a short set on stage for a panel of judges. The IBC is such a memorable and unique experience that Chick Cavallero of Colorado Blues Society proclaimed,

"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..."

The 2004 IBC winner and 2006 Blues Music Award Best New Artist, Zac Harmon, even said, "Winning the International Blues Challenge is better than having a $100,000 publicity budget." 


Keeping the Blues Alive Awards

In addition to the IBC, The Blues Foundation will honor 16 individuals and organizations with the prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive Awards, for their outstanding achievements and efforts in keeping the blues going strong. As The Blues Foundation President and CEO, Barbara Newman stated, “Our 2017 Keeping the Blues Alive recipients are all wonderful examples of blues flame keepers, each working in their own sphere of influence to move the genre forward while honoring its past.”

The 2017 Keeping the Blues Alive Awards recipients are:

    1. Baltimore Blues Society
    2. Blues and Soul Records
    3. Kathy Bolmer
    4. Briggs Farm Blues Festival
    5. Kyle Deibler
    6. Greaseland Studios
    7. Highway 99 Blues Club
    8. Jay Miller
    9. Jacques Morgantini
    10. James Nagel
    11. Porretta Soul Festival
    12. Steve Salter
    13. Eddie Stout
    14. Suzanne Swanson
    15. WGLT radio
    16. Wolf Records

 International Blues Challenge Foundation Slinger Straps

For more information, or to purchase your International Blues Challenge tickets, please click here