Battle Of The Blues Bands!

The Blues Foundation's 25th Annual International Blues Challenge will be held February, 4th-7th, 2009. This year over 185 acts from across the globe will travel to Memphis and fill the clubs along Beale Street before competing in the finals at the Orpheum Theatre. Every year, The Blues Foundation conducts an international search yielding the largest gathering of blues acts in the world to take the stage at the IBC. The competition is judged in "battle of the bands" style with a panel of judges from the local music community. Among the 2009 judges is Keeping the Blues Alive Award recipient Producer David Z, who has helmed studio work with Prince, Buddy Guy, Etta James, Al Green, and Gov't Mule. Prices are awarded in both band and solo/duo categories and include:

- International Blues Challenge Winner plaque
- $500-$1500 cash
- Career-changing gigs at exotic locations like the Legendary Rhythm
and Blues Cruise, Rootsway Festival in Parma, Italy, and St. John Blues
Festival in the Virgin Islands, as well as prestigious blues festivals
in Helena, AR, Telluride, CO and Wheeling, WV and a dozen more
- Emerging artist publicity, radio promotion campaign, professional
artist management consultation, professional press kit and m media
exposure through articles and ads in magazines, websites and e-zines
- CD listing at top online vendors
- Custom Gibson guitar featuring The Blues Foundation logo

In addition to the evening blues competition, the days are filled with presentations such as Mississippi's new B.B. King Museum and extensive Blues Marker Trail. The weekend also includes the 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 including journalism, literature and photography. Also eligible for the KBA awards are the best clubs, festivals, managers, promoters and producers.

This year, The Blues Foundation is proud to announce the first ever Smokin' Bluz Youth Showcase and FedEx International Showcase. Both lineups will feature undiscovered talent from the fiercest musicians in a new generation of performers and blues music across the globe. The artists in these lineups are welcome to compete in the challenge, but there will be no awards for the showcase performances. Past competitors include: Susan Tedeschi, Tommy Castro, Eden Brent, Michael Burks, the late Sean Costello, Albert Cummings, Larry Garner, Zac Harmon, Homemade Jamz Blues Band, Jason Ricci, Super Chikan, and Watermelon Slim.

The 25th 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, Sonicbids, T. Clifton Art, Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission.

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