Published on: January 18th, 2009
I had hope to be writing you about WWOZ's live broadcast of The International Blues Challenge in Memphis on Feb 4th - 7th, instead I will simply be telling you about it when I get back. What is the International Blues Challenge? "IBC" The World's Largest Gathering of Blues Bands February 4-7, 2009 Memphis, Tennessee - The program for the 25th International Blues Challenge (IBC), set for February 4-7, 2009 in Memphis, Tennessee, is taking shape, full information of which is posted at www.blues.org. The 25th edition of the world’s premier Blues music competition will feature more than 100 bands and 60 solo/duo acts from 36 states and nine countries. Blues musicians will be attending from Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Italy, Norway, Poland, United States and, for the first time, Croatia. The winners receive cash prizes, professional services and appearances at top Blues festivals. Advance tickets are available at www.blues.org. The events begin Wednesday evening with the Beale Street Merchants hosting a Meet ‘n Greet at the New Daisy Theater, the Memphis Grizzlies presenting four IBC participants during its Blues night at the FedEx Forum in conjunction with their NBA game against the Houston Rockets. Following the game, a special 25th IBC Kick Off Concert, featuring a number of top finishers from recent Challenges, including Trampled Under Foot (2008 IBC 1st Place), Sean Carney Band (2007 1st Place), Homemade Jamz Blues Band (2007 2nd Place), Jonn Richardson (2005 IBC 1st Place and Best Guitarist), Zac Harmon (2004 IBC 1st Place). Friday afternoon will see the first-ever FedEx International Showcase, featuring many of the acts from outside the United States, and the Smokin’ Bluz Youth Showcase, featuring more than a dozen acts whose members are under 21. The IBC semi-finals commence at 5:00pm Thursday evening in 16 Beale Street clubs and continue before a different set of judges in those clubs Friday evening. The ten band finalists will begin at 2:00pm Saturday afternoon at The Orpheum Theatre while the six solo/duo finalists will commence at 8:30pm Saturday night at the Orpheum. The judges will also present a custom Gibson guitar featuring The Blues Foundation logo to the most promising guitarist. Blues musicians Cassie Taylor and Jason Ricci will host the band finals and Delta Groove Music’s Randy Chortkoff will be master of ceremonies for the evening finals. A complete list of participating acts can be found at www.blues.org. The weekend also features 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 22 categories such as journalism, literature and photography and to the best clubs and festivals, as well as managers, promoters and producers. The Blues community will recognize its peers in a moving Saturday morning ceremony at the Downtown Doubletree Hotel. The International Blues Challenge and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards are produced by The Blues Foundation, a non-profit organization established to preserve Blues history, celebrate Blues excellence, support Blues education and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. The Foundation consists of a worldwide network of 165 affiliated Blues societies and has individual memberships spanning the globe. In addition to the, the Foundation also produces the Blues Music Awards and the Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. For more information or to join The Blues Foundation, log onto www.blues.org. I am very sorry that you will not hear the live broadcast of the finals as had been planned. After I worked with The Blues foundation to set it up, a sponcer was on board, and I was told that all was go, station managment changed their minds and backed out. While never bothering to inform anyone officially they simply offered some double talk and ignored both me and The Blues Foundation. I will bring you back some music since you won't get to hear it live.