Port City Blues Society

IBC Challenge 2022

The Road to the IBC


Hotel and Ticket information will be available on a date TBA.

IBC will be held January TBA, 2025 on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee!

The International Blues Challenge represents the worldwide search for blues bands and solo/duo blues performers ready for the international stage, yet just needing that extra big break. The world’s largest gathering of blues musicians will take place on Beale Street, with over 20 clubs hosting the challengers and fans. In addition to featuring these final rounds of the prestigious blues music competition, the IBC event week will offer seminars, showcases, master classes, film screenings, networking events, book signings, and receptions for blues societies, fans, and professionals.


Have Questions? eMail one of us below.

George Scaife

Joe Powell

Dave Sadler

Note: This may or may not print from some mobile devices. We suggest you download and print from a desktop computer, laptop, or iPad for best results. We will have copies of the application and rules available at the jams on Wednesday nights at RJ's. Check with Bob Hollis, Dave Sadler, or Butch Scaife and we'll get one in your hand.

Who Can Enter the IBC?

To participate in the International Blues Challenge, you must participate in and win a local challenge sponsored by a current Blues Foundation affiliated blues society. Bands and Solo/Duo musician(s) will be selected to compete.  Youth musician(s) will be selected to perform during the Youth Showcase but will not compete.  A challenger must never have received a Blues Music Award nomination and a band or solo/duo may not participate in the IBC in three consecutive years.
How Do I Find a Local Challenge?

The International Blues Challenge is restricted to challengers sponsored by current Blues Foundation affiliated blues societies.  Each of The Blues Foundation’s 200+ blues societies has the opportunity to sponsor a band and solo/duo in the IBC.  A blues society must be affiliated with The Blues Foundation for a full year in order to be eligible to sponsor an act for the IBC. We invite you to check out our map of current affiliated organizations to find a blues society in your neighborhood. Please visit their website(s) for additional information and contacts to assist you in joining a local challenge.
What is the Blues Music Award Restriction?

The only artists who are deemed ineligible to compete in the International Blues Challenge are artists whose names have appeared on a final Blues Music Award ballot (formerly the W.C. Handy Awards). All other musicians who have had peripheral and/or professional contact through performance with a Blues Music Award nominee, including but not limited to touring band members and studio musicians, are deemed eligible for the IBC. The exception is band members of a band nominated for Band of the Year. If you are concerned that one of your band members might make your band ineligible, we suggest you visit our Award Search or call The Blues Foundation offices before entering your local challenge.
What Other Restrictions Should I be Aware Of?

Challenger may enter the IBC a maximum of 3 times, after which they are no longer eligible. They may not participate in the IBC in three consecutive years, i.e., there must be a break of at least one year after competing two years in a row. A musician may not compete in the band category and the solo/duo category in the same year. Any challenger, band, or solo/duo, that has won first place at the IBC in Memphis may not enter a challenge in that same category in the future.
Musician must first enter the challenge of their own/home blues society or the closest blues society based on distance. If they are not successful, they may enter the challenges of no more than 2 more blues societies in that year, provided those blues societies are within 250 miles (425 Km) of the home blues society. Challengers are not permitted to enter the challenge of the two distant blues societies if either is held prior to the home challenge.
Musician may be invited to participate in the challenge, but they may not be “pre-selected” and must compete in a fair, live, judged event.
How Does the Blues Foundation Distinguish Between Band, Solo/Duo, and Youth?

A band is any group with three or more musicians.  A solo/duo has no more than two musicians. Both electric and acoustic instruments are allowed in either category, and vocalists are counted as musicians for the purpose of this competition. A Youth participant is any group in which all performing members are under the age of 21 at the time of the International Blues Challenge.
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