1. Who can enter?
A Blues act cannot enter the International Blues Challenge (IBC) directly. Only a Blues Foundation Affiliate (The Cleveland Blues Society) may sponsor an act. The act is eligible as long as it has not ever received a Blues Music Award nomination. An act may not participate in the IBC in Memphis three consecutive years. An act may be a band, solo/duo or youth. Each Affiliate may enter a Band in the Band Division and/or a Solo/Duo act in the Solo/Duo Division to compete in the 32nd IBC in 2016. Each Affiliate may also send a youth act for the Youth Showcase.
2. Are there other restrictions?
An Act is limited to two consecutive appearances at the IBC in Memphis and must then sit out at least one year before being eligible to compete again. An Act under the same name will not be allowed to compete three consecutive years.
An individual may not compete in more than one act in any capacity.
A musician cannot compete in the Band Division and the Solo/Duo Division, even if that musician represents a different Affiliate in each.
Affiliates (The Cleveland Blues Society) are allowed and often do impose additional eligibility restrictions for their own competitions.
3. How does an Affiliate enter an act?
Affiliates in Canada and the United States must conduct an open, judged live music competition. Affiliates in these two countries may not appoint an act (except for the Youth category).
4. 2015 On To Memphis Blues Challenge Format
The top scoring Band and Solo Duo Competitiors will win the chance to represent The Cleveland Blues Society at the 32nd 2016 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennesse January 26-30th. There will be prize money awarded to the winners.
Competition sets will be 20 minutes long. There will be just 10 minutes in between each Act. You and the Acts before and after you will be required to set up and tear down what equipment you do bring in that alloted 10 minutes. Any Act taking an exceptinally long amount of time to do this, at the discretion of The Cleveland Blues Society may be penalized one point off of their total raw score.
Playing times will be announced approximately one week after the On to Memphis Challenge application deadline. You will be noitified via the contact information & Act representative you provide in your application. The Cleveland Blues Society will also post this schedule on our website, Facebook page and will be listed on a printed schedule available the day of the event.
5. Staging and Equipment
The Cleveland Blues Society will provide backline and sound. The setup on stage will include a drum kit with snare drum, amps, and mics. Drummers have the option to bring their own cymbals and kick pedals (Yes, you will need your cymbals). Harmonica players CAN (but are not required) bring their own harp amp. Keyboard players must bring their own keyboards and keyboard amps, & keyboard stands. Effects racks and other auxiliary equipment are permitted. Musicians must include on the application form any additional or special equipment needed or being requested.
THERE WILL BE 10 MINUTES IN BETWEEN EACH ACT. YOU AND THE ACTS BEFORE AND AFTER YOU - WILL BE REQUIRED TO SET UP/TEAR DOWN WHAT EQUIPMENT YOU DO BRING IN THAT ALLOTED 10 MINUTES. ANY ACT TAKING AN EXCEPTIONALLY LONG AMOUNT OF TIME TO DO THIS, AT THE DISCRETION OF THE CLEVELAND BLUES SOCIETY MAY BE PENALIZED ONE POINT OFF OF THEIR TOTAL RAW SCORE.
Competitors are prohibited from bringing their own amplifiers (harp amps and keyboard amps being the only exceptions.) Please bring a DI (if you use one) every effort will be made to provide suitable equipment. The Cleveland Blues Society reserves the right to approve or restrict any and all equipment an entrant wishes to bring on stage.
6. Scoring Criteria: The Blues Foundation recommends that all Affiliated Organizations in their competition use our established scoring criteria. Categories include Talent Vocal, Blues Content, Stage Presence and Originality.
1. 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. Acts should pick material carefully. At the Cleveland Blues Society competition as well as 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.”)
2. Vocals: The Acts vocal skills.
3. Talent: The Acts instrumental skills.
4. 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.
5. 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” an Act may be. (Dress to impress people)
To reflect the relative importance of each category in the success of an Act, an Act’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. At the Cleveland Blues Society's discretion, a policy of penalty for excessive time loading-in and out will also be applied. The weighted multipliers will be Blues content (4); talent and vocals (3); originality (2) and stage presence (2).
The Cleveland Blues Society and/or Act’s are prohibited from contacting any IBC venue, for any reason. Violations of this rule will result with point deductions from the act(s) raw score. In addition, IBC participants can lose points for non-compliance with administrative aspects of the competition. (Cleveland Blues Society Acts MUST be checked in with Memphis Challenge Stage Manager at LEAST 90 minutes before their alloted time slot).
To insure that the Memphis Challenge event goes smoothly The Cleveland Blues Society has the authority to deduct a point from the Act's overall weighted score in the event that an Act scheduled to play in a specific slot is not able to perform for whatever reason. The next Act scheduled to play will be asked to step into that slot. Should that Act, for whatever reason, not be able to perform when asked, the The Cleveland Blues Society has the authority to deduct a point from that Act, and so on. With that in mind, The Cleveland Blues Society strongly suggests that after an Act has met with their Stage Manager for their required check-in, they stay in the venue and are available to perform at the Stage Manager's direction, regardless of which slot they are scheduled to play. Acts that have missed their designated slot will be allowed to perform later in the night but will still suffer the loss of a point on the weighted score.
7. Other Points of Consideration
The Cleveland Blues Society reserves the right to use any contestant’s name, voices, pictures, visages and other likeness for the purpose of advertising, publishing and promoting the IBC On To Memphis Challenge or The Cleveland Blues Society.
The Cleveland Blues Society reserves the right to videotape or otherwise record all IBC On To Memphis Challenge performances. The Cleveland Blues Society shall retain total ownership of all recordings and programs, and reserves the right to edit the program, the right to broadcast the program, the right to copyright the program and the right to license others to use these rights.