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The International Blues Challenge (IBC) represents the worldwide search for those blues bands and solo/duo blues performers and youth bands who are ready for the international stage, while needing only that extra big break to achieve their goals. Each affiliated chapter of The Blues Foundation has the right to send a youth band, solo/duo musician(s) and a band to represent its organization at the IBC.

For years, the Smoky Mountain Blues Society (SMBS), one such affiliate, has proudly sent blues bands, duos and youth bands to Memphis to compete in this classic event for years. This year we continue that fine tradition.

We invite our members and all blues enthusiasts to come to our very own IBC to hear some great music and to cheer on the competitors. It’s a great way to thank local musicians for keeping the blues alive in East Tennessee.

Applications are currently being accepted in all categories. Participating artists will be judged by a panel of three musical experts. The Smoky Mountain Blues Society holds its regional competition this time of the year in order for the winning acts have plenty of time to raise much-needed funds and prepare for the excitement of Memphis!  Deadline for entry will be September 19th.

CONTACT SMBS Vice President Tom Hurwitz (646) 785-0686 or email for more information.

Please click here for application form –IBC entry_form

The winning artists in each category of Band and Solo/Duo will represent East Tennessee at the International Blues Challenge to be held on January 24-28, 2023 on Beale Street 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  Solo/Duo Blues Act ready to take their act to the international stage. See more at: 

In addition to our International Blues Challenge there will also be a Self Produced CD Competition.

The cover charge for the competition will be $5.00 for Blues Society members and $10.00 for non-members. Doors open at 6 PM, music starts at 7 PM. Purchase tickets at the door, no advance sales.  Proceeds go towards funding the winning bands’ travel to Memphis.

Open Chord is a non-smoking and family-friendly with a delicious menu and beverage service.   

Mighty Blue performing in Memphis for the IBC