The International Blues Challenge is held every January in Memphis. Blues acts from around the world compete in different categories. Every act has to be sponsored by a blues society. The Montreal Blues Society will be holding a Quebec to Memphis contest this fall to determine which act will represent Quebec in the Band category in Memphis. The 32nd International Blues Challenge will be held January 26-30, 2016, in the Beale Street Historic District.
Here is what you need to know about the Quebec to Memphis competition:
The IBC defines a Band as having 3 members.
The contest is open to all Quebec based blues bands who are able to travel to the IBC in Memphis, January 26th through 30th, 2016. If you can’t make it to Memphis in January, this contest isn’t for you!
The application fee is $25.00.
Send 3 songs on a CD, along with the completed application form and the application fee (cheque made out to: Montreal Blues Society) to:
Montreal Blues Society
Attn: Quebec to Memphis
Ile Perrot, QC J7V 8X4
We will accept applications until August 14, 2015.
In the event that there are more than 8 applicants, the judges will pre-screen the entries and select 8 finalists. The judges will use the 3 songs you sent as the basis for the pre-screening. If you’re sending in a full length CD, indicate which 3 songs you want the judges to listen to.
The 8 challengers will compete in the qualifying round, spread over 2 nights; 4 bands each on either October 6th or 13th.
Judges will score the performances using the IBC guidelines, and choose 3 finalists who will play on October 20th, at which time a winner will be designated. Here is the IBC scoring criteria:
- Blues Content: Everyone has his or her own interpretation of what is and is not Blues. Thus, any given three-judge panel will include members with varying opinions of Blues, covering the spectrum of Blues whenever possible, from the most traditional to soul/blues and rock/blues. Bands should pick material carefully. At the Memphis semi-finals and finals, the judges are Blues professionals, not a bar crowd, and are likely to be unimpressed with song selections that are uninspired. (Call this–with all due respect to Sir Mack Rice and Wilson Pickett–the “no Mustang Sally rule.”)
- Vocals: The acts vocal skills.
- Talent: The acts instrumental skills.
- Originality: Original work is encouraged. Cover tunes are allowed but playing the recorded rendition lick by lick is discouraged; will not be looked upon favorably by the judges; and will be reflected in scoring.
- Stage Presence: Over the years, the quality of talent has risen so dramatically that we no longer consider this an “amateur” competition. Most contestants have performed on stage enough to know that they are not simply playing music, but putting on a show. This category rates how “sellable” a band may be.
To reflect the relative importance of each category in the success of a band, a band’s score in each category is weighted. Raw scores for Blues Content is multiplied by four, Talent and vocals by three and Originality and Stage Presence are multiplied by two. The total in each category represents the Weighted Score for that category. Total possible weighted score is 140
An ACT will be penalized one point from its Total Weighted Score (see below) for each ten seconds that it runs overtime. There is no penalty for using less than the allotted time. The weighted multipliers will be Blues content (4); talent and vocals (3); originality (2) and stage presence (2).
The challenge will be held at the Bistro a Jojo on all 3 dates; each band will play for 25 minutes.
In the event that there are an insufficient number of entries, the Montreal Blues Society reserves the right to modify the above schedule and/or cancel the event entirely. The Montreal Blues Society will help defray a portion of the expenses and help the winning band organize fundraisers to ease the financial burden. The applicant band understands that they are responsible for paying their own travel, lodging, and other expenses to get to, and while in, Memphis, that are in excess of the financial assistance provided by the MBS.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the application form.
If you have questions or require clarification about any of the points outlined above, please email email@example.com
or send a text message to 514-465-9725.
Go to the official IBC website to get more details with regards to the contest itself in Memphis. Here are some links you can check out so you know what to expect should you be the winner of the Quebec to Memphis contest:
Here is a list of the prizes in Memphis:
1st Place Band
- First Place International Blues Challenge plaque
- $3000 cash
- Blues Festival Guide – 1/4 page color Ad in Blues Festival Guide annual print magazine; and Double banner size banner ad on its website for 6 months; and two songs in mp3 format (for 12 months duration) on their Jukebox and 4 Facebook postings on Facebook.com/Blues Festival Guide (145,000 Likes) with link through to band’s site.
Great gigs, including:
- Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, 2016 Legendary Rhythm and Blues Caribbean Cruise- http://bluescruise.com/
- Heritage Blues Festival , Wheeling, WV- http://www.heritagemusicfest.com/
- Telluride Blues and Brews Festival , Telluride, CO- http://www.tellurideblues.com/
- King Biscuit Blues Festival , Helena, AR- http://www.kingbiscuitfestival.com/
- Hot Springs Blues Festival , Hot Springs, AR- http://spacityblues.org/
- Eureka Springs Blues Weekend , Eureka Springs, AR- http://eurekaspringsblues.com/
- Gladstone SummerTime BluesFest , Gladstone, MO- http://www.gladstonechamber.com/
- Levitt Shell Concert Series , Memphis, TN- http://www.levittshell.org/
- Big Blues Bender , Las Vegas, NV- http://www.bigbluesbender.com/
- Bottleneck Blues Bar Ameristar Casino , Vicksburg. MS- http://www.ameristar.com/vicksburg/live-event-calendar
- Daytona Blues Festival , Daytona, FL.- http://daytonabluesfestival.com/
2nd Place Band
- 2nd Place International Blues Challenge plaque
- $2500 cash
- Blues Festival Guide (http://bluesfestivalguide.com/) – Double banner size banner ad on its website for 3 months and two songs in mp3 format (for 6 months duration) on their Jukebox.
3rd Place Band
- 3rd Place International Blues Challenge Plaque
- $1500 cash
Best Guitarist Award (in Band Finals)