International Blues Challenge is a comin'

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Thursday, January 27, 2011

In 6 short days the blues world is descending upon Memphis, TN - THE HOME OF THE BLUES - for the International Blues Challenge.

108 bands, 81 solo/duo acts and 28 acts in the Youth Showcase (any act that all members are under the age of 21 at the time of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis).

Curious who the acts are? You can find a complete listing of bands, solo/duo acts and youth showcase participants on the entry page.

There is scoring that is followed to a tee...if you are interested, you can read about them on the rules page.

Some of the things I did not know about, but have learned this month as I interview acts who have earned their way to Memphis is that, within a few months of the competition, the entrants get their score sheet from their performances with notes made by the judges.

This is very cool. How else do artists know how to improve on their skills. On of my guests, TJ Sullivan competed last year as a duo. The responses he received made him to go through the competition this year as a solo artist and he won his way back to Memphis...listen and learn!

This morning I posted a comment on A.C. Wharton's Facebook page - OH, he is the Mayor of Memphis BTW - my message to the Mayor...

Would be nice if there was a whole lot of stuff around the city for the IBC next week. Artists and music folks coming from all over the world and we should be greeting them as royalty as we are HOME OF THE BLUES...

I mean, really...go to a city when a convention is coming to town and there are billboards up welcoming the conventioneers... Go into a city that is hosting a big football game or a Bowl game and all you see is banners and signs talking about the event.

Here in Memphis, so 1,000 or more people are going to be spending money (hotels, food, drink, etc) and time in our city and I have not seen word one about it. Nothing in the local papers. Nothing on the local TV.

HELL, in August everything is Elvis here and the city makes a huge deal...the papers make a huge deal...the TV makes a huge deal.

Granted we are also THE BIRTHPLACE OF ROCK AND ROLL (well, actually Tupelo is where Elvis was born, but Sun records is here in Memphis).

I am comfuzzled why the city is not jumping on board the IBC bandwagon and doing something about it. I even know some people who have lived here their whole life who were unaware the IBC even existed!!!!

I went to the Shelby County website (Memphis is in Shelby Country)..their calendar of events...
Jan. 29
Healthy Baby. Healthy Community. Community Crusade Day of Service
Feb. 18
Bring Your “A” Game
Apr. 22
Offices Closed - Good Friday
May 30
Offices Closed - Memorial Day

HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...Not even a mention of the IBC...OK, but that is the county site...let's check the Memphis site...

So, I go to the City Of Memphis site and click on Visitors and the Information & Maps (under Entertainment, you click Music and it just lists business that offer music).

HA..I am told I am being directed to another site with a note that says:
You are leaving the City Of Memphis Web Site.
The City is not responsible for the content of external web sites.

So I am on the site for Memphis Travel.

I click on Events (has to be listed, right?)...then to Live Music Events (MUST be listed, right?) I ask for all events..and scroll down to the listings for February 2,3,4,5. I see listings for my friends bands playing those evenings (the competition runs from 4pm - 7 pm each night)...but NOTHING ON THE IBC!

Back to the city website, maybe I missed something there...NOPE...not a word about Memphis hosting the IBC...why should there be? I mean it is ONLY THE HOME OF THE BLUES!!!!

How in the heck does that happen?

You can check out my interviews with musicians coming to Memphis with the player on the top right side.

9 Of Your Sparks

  1. DrillerAA09 Says:
  2. I have NO idea why the city of Memphis doesn't promote such an event. I know that when "South x Southwest" comes to Austin, the whole town knows about it! It is a HUGE deal to the local economy.
    Memphis and Austin both have entertainment districts that feature the music of the region and bands of the region, but it appears that Austin makes the most of the opportunity while Memphis largely ignores their event.
    Note to Memphis, Elvis has been DEAD for forty years...get over it! Embrace the blues and make something special happen.

  3. Travis Cody Says:
  4. Bumbershoot is a huge arts and music festival in Seattle, held every Labor Day weekend since 1971. It is promoted all over Puget Sound. I don't know how much of that promotion is sponsored by the city of Seattle though.

    I know the Bumbershoot organizers are all over it. And word of mouth is huge about it. It's one of the first things I heard about when I moved here.

    It's incredibly important to northwest culture and people take it very seriously. I would have thought Memphis and IBC would be similar.

  5. Could the problem be that the IBC dropped the ball regarding its own self promotion? Just wondering...

  6. DRILLERSS: As has been asked below, this is also a question I am trying to find an answer from the IBC also. Elvis is Dead???? When????

    TRAVIS: I have even heard of Bumbershoot!

    PONDERING: This is also true though they are non-profit and don't have a huge amount of funds...

  7. BeckEye Says:
  8. Sounds like all of the artists have the can't -get -no -publicity blues.

  9. Jay Says:
  10. Hell, we do a better job of promoting Crawdad Days then Memphis does of promoting IBC.

  11. Coco Says:
  12. Strange as it may seem, I've followed the IBC with great interest. I'd love to attend this event someday.

    Last year, a local musician from here (my province!) won the soloist category. Wondering if you have heard of him? His name is Matt Andersen and he's the real deal. Here's his website:\

  13. BECKEYE: LOL..yup

    JAY: No kidding ...

    COCO: Actually, I interviewed Matt last weekend for a feature in American Blues News which should be running this week some time. He IS the real deal.

  14. Coco Says:
  15. And FYI? The IBC is well-known to us music lovers here ... we get a lot of winners and runners-up from it at our blues festivals. It should be a bigger deal down there, though, I agree.


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