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25th International Blues Challenge
The Blues Foundation will present the 25th International Blues Challenge February 4-7, 2009 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 2008, 100 bands and 60 solo/duo acts entered, filling the clubs up and down Beale Street for the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday and the finals at the Orpheum Theater on Saturday. They will have at least that many in 2009. Get all the information you need about tickets, tee-shirts, travel, lodging and the schedule as we now know RIGHT HERE!

For the 25th year, Blues musicians from around the world will compete for cash, prizes, and industry recognition as The Blues Foundation presents the International Blues Challenge beginning Wednesday, February 4 through Saturday, February, 7th 2009 in Memphis, Tennessee. 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 Blues solo/duo most deserving of taking their act to the international stage. One hundred bands and 60 solo/duo acts will compete; in 2007 they came from 36 states and 9 countries. Musicians and fans will fill the clubs up and down Beale Street beginning at 5:00pm for the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday and at the Band finals (1:00pm) and the Solo/Duo finals (7:30pm) at the Orpheum Theater on Saturday. In addition, for the first time ever, the event will include a Youth Showcase and an International Showcase on Friday afternoon.

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 who score them on an established set of criteria. Blues acts 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.

The IBC weekend gets an early kickoff Wednesday, January 30 with a Meet & Greet hosted by the Beale Street Merchants Association at the New Daisy Theater and the performance of multiple IBC participants at the FedEx Forum during the Memphis Grizzlies v. Houston Rockets NBA game. The game will be followed by a special 25th Kick-Off Concert at the New Daisy, featuring top IBC acts from the past, including Sean Carney Band, Homemade Jamz Blues Band, Trampled Under Foot, among others. 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 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.

The 25th International Blues Challenge 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, Smokin Bluz, Sonicbids, T. Clifton Art, Tennessee Arts Commission, Tennessee Film, Music and Entertainment Commission and XM Satellite Radio.

The list of blues artists whose career included the International Blues Challenge over the years includes: Susan Tedeschi, Michelle Wilson, Michael Burks, Tommy Castro, Albert Cummings, Larry Garner, Richard Johnston, Slick Ballinger, Zac Harmon, Diunna Greenleaf and Matthew Skoller, among many others.

"I say this every year, but if you love the Blues and you miss this event, you are missing out on the most exciting event in Blues.” Lee Mitchell, Magic City Blues Society, Birmingham, AL

"Winning the International Blues Challenge is better than having a $100,000 publicity budget"--2004 IBC winner and 2006 Blues Music Award Best New Artist Zac Harmon

“This was my first year attending the International Blues Challenge and it was better than any festival I have ever attended.”—Eddie Bagwell, Vice-President, Tulsa Blues Society

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.

For more information and to purchase advance tickets, visit www.blues.org or call 901.527.2583.

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