2012 International Blues Challenge (IBC)
January 31 – February 4, 2012.
Tickets have been available since October 1.
IBC will begin with the FedEx International Showcase on January 31. The Challenge has been expanded to a four day format. Wednesday and Thursday night we will hold the quarter finals (Feb 1-2), Semi finals will be held Friday night (Feb 3) and concluding with finals in the Orpheum Theater (Feb 4).
The 2012 International Blues Challenge will be the 28th year of Blues musicians from around the world competing for cash, prizes, and industry recognition. The Blues Foundation will present the 28th International Blues Challenge January 31-February 4, 2012 in Memphis, TN. The world’s largest gathering of Blues acts represents an international search by The Blues Foundation and its Affiliated Organizations for the Blues Band and Solo/Duo Blues Act ready to take their act to the international stage. In 2011, 110 bands and 83 solo/duo acts entered, filling the clubs up and down Beale Street for the quarter-finals on Wednesday and Thursday, the semi-finals on Friday and the finals at the Orpheum Theater on Saturday. We will have at least that many in 2012.
The 28th year of the International Blues Challenge will once again include a youth showcase for those under the age of 21. The 28th IBC will include an afternoon (Friday, February 3, 2011) of talented young people showcasing their talents for record labels, media, festivals, managers, talent buyers and the fans.
The week of events will once again kick off Tuesday night with a Meet & Greet hosted by the Beale Street Merchants Association at the New Daisy Theater, followed by the FedEx International Showcase. In addition to the evening Blues competition, the days are filled with seminars and workshops and topped off in a moving Saturday morning brunch in which the Blues community will honor its own with the prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) awards that honor the men and women, who have made significant contributions to the Blues music world, in 20 categories such as journalism, literature and photography and to the best clubs and festivals, as well as managers, promoters and producers.
Media Sponsors include Beale Street Caravan, Big City Rhythm and Blues, Blues Festival Guide, Blues Revue, Downtowner, House of Blues Radio Hour, Living Blues, Memphis Flyer, Memphis Music Magazine and WREG-TV.
The 28th International Blues Challenge is sponsored by ArtsMemphis, bandVillage, Beale Street Merchants Association, Budweiser and its local distributor, D.Canale Beverages, FedEx, Gibson, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Smokin’ Bluz, T. Clifton Art, Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission.
The list of current blues artists that have competed in the IBC over the years is impressive indeed: Slick Ballinger, Barbara Blue, Fiona Boyes, Eden Brent, Keith Brown, Michael Burks, Sean Carney, Albert Castiglia, Tommy Castro, the late Sean Costello, Albert Cummings, Delta Moon, Larry Garner, Joey Gilmore, Diunna Greenleaf, Zac Harmon, Homemade Jamz Blues Band, Richard Johnston, Joe Moss, Jason Ricci, Robin Rogers, Matthew Skoller, Super Chikan, Patrick Sweany, Susan Tedeschi, Teeny Tucker, Watermelon Slim, the late John Weston and Michelle Wilson.
The 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 IBC 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 Streetin Memphis, TN.
Affiliates are encouraged 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
2011 International Blues Challenge Artists
2011 International Blues Challenge Articles of Interest
2010 International Blues Challenge Coverage
2010 IBCs in pictures
2010 Youth Division IBC Competitor Will Jacobs
2010 Youth Division IBC Competitor Michaela Rae
Past International Blues Challenge Artists
Fiona Boyes Interview
II Juicy a Memorial
Zakk Knight Review
Grady Champion at a festival
Sonny Boy Terry Interview
Brandon Santini Interview
Eden Brent in pictures
Diunna Greenleaf in pictures
Teeny Tucker interview