International Blues Challenge 2008

For the 24th year, Blues musicians from around the world will compete for cash, prizes, and industry recognition as The Blues Foundation presents the International Blues Challenge (IBC) January 31 through February 2, 2008 in Memphis, TN. The world’s largest gathering of Blues acts represents an international competition by The Blues Foundation and its affiliated organizations to provide a career springboard for the winning Blues band and Blues solo/duo artists.
 Due to the exponential growth in the event’s attendance over the last 5 years, changes have been made to accommodate fans. Sell out crowds for the final competitions required a move to a larger venue to ensure attendees from around the world can see the best of the best musicians. This year’s finals competitions will be held at the 2,300 seat Orpheum Theater on Saturday, February 2. In 2007, over 90 bands and 60 solo/duo acts from 34 states and 8 countries competed. The event is on track for record attendance in 2008 with the host Doubletree Hotel selling out in three days after accepting reservations. Additional rooms have been added at the Memphis Marriott Downtown.IBC weekend kicks off early on Wednesday, January 30 with a meet & greet at the New Daisy Theater hosted by the Beale Street Merchants Association. The evening continues with The Memphis Grizzlies and The Blues Foundation have teaming up for the first annual Blues Night with the Memphis Grizzlies. The entire FedEx Forum will have the feel and sound of the Blues as 2008 International Blues Challenge participants perform throughout the arena. For special ticket discounts for IBC attendees, contact the Memphis Grizzlies at 901-205-1462.

International Blues Challenge weekend schedule highlights:

Wednesday, January 30


5:00-7:00 pm IBC Beale Street Meet and Greet Beale Street Merchants Associations welcomes IBC participants and attendees at reception at New Daisy Theater.

7:00 pm Memphis Grizzlies v. Denver Nuggets NBA Basketball game at FedEx Forum behind Beale with special discounts and IBC acts performing throughout the venue.

8:00 pm Real Delta Showcase at the New Daisy Theater featuring Eden Brent, Bill Abel, Cadillac John Nolden, Duff Dorough and Jimmy "Duck" Holmes.

Thursday, January 31

3:00-5:00 pm Cocktail Reception (Tennessee Ballroom, Doubletree Hotel) This reception is open only to those holding the Total Weekend Package

5:00/6:00 pm Semi-Finals begin in Beale Street Clubs (Check schedule for start time in each venue)

Friday, February 1
2:00-4:00 pm Performance Licensing Seminar with performance rights organization Broadcast Music, Inc (Doubletree Hotel, mezzanine level)
BMI represents over 350,000 songwriters, composers and publishers with more than 6.5 million works.

5:00/6:00 pm Semi-Finals Begin in Beale Street Clubs (Check schedule for start time in each venue)

Saturday, February 2

1:00 pm Band Finals Doors Open at the Orpheum

2:00-7:00 pm Band Finals; Best Self Produced CD Winner announced
7:30 pm Solo/Duo Finals at Orpheum–Doors Open
8:30 pm Solo/Duo Finals and Gibson Guitar Giveaway

The IBC has evolved into the world’s biggest and most respected showcase for Blues musicians ready to move beyond their regional base. Acts play a short set for a panel of judges including record label executives, festival promoters, producers, and industry professionals. Artists may not enter the challenge directly, but rather each of The Blues Foundation’s 165 affiliates has the right to sponsor one band and one solo/duo act. Accordingly, those who make it to Memphis are already the best of the best.

In addition to the evening Blues competitions, 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 to recognize the men and women, who have made significant contributions to the Blues music world. Awards are given in 20 categories such as journalism, literature and photography and to the best clubs and festivals, as well as managers, promoters and producers.

Throughout the week, The Blues Foundation will be sponsoring Blues in the Schools programming featuring Gary Allegretto, Spencer Bohren and the duo of James Nixon and Shannon Williford in elementary and middle schools in the Greater Memphis area.

The 24th IBC is sponsored by ArtsMemphis, bandVillage, Beale Street Merchants Association, Budweiser and its local distributor, D. Canale Beverages, FedEx, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Sonicbids, T. Clifton Art and XM Satellite Radio.

Media Sponsors include XM Satellite Radio, House of Blues Radio Hour, Big City Rhythm and Blues, Blues Festival Guide, Blues Revue, BluesWax, Downtowner magazine, Living Blues and WREG-TV.

For more information, to purchase advance tickets, or to join The Blues Foundation, log onto or call 901-527-2583.

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central