For 25 years, the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge, held in Memphis each winter, has provided an opportunity for accomplished regional artists to compete for a national platform and move their careers ahead a few steps.
The competing artists are chosen in various ways by affiliated local blues societies like the Cleveland Blues Society, which for the first time is sponsoring contestants in both the band and solo/duo categories.
Any working blues artist based within 150 miles of downtown Cleveland is eligible — whether a member of the Cleveland Blues Society or not; there’s an application on the CBS website.
Deadline to enter is September 11, and bands accepted will play a live competition at Wilbert’s October 11 (Other dates may be added if response warrants).
Winners must also agree to play a fundraiser/send-off event to cover the costs of the contest and the stipend the artists will receive to help defray their costs ($1,000 for the band, $300 for the solo/duo winner). The challenge takes place January 20-23. —Anastasia Pantsios