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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), A Blues Foundation 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.

Applications are currently being accepted in all categories. Participating artists will be judged by a panel of judges that will score performances on blues content, originality, vocals, instrumental talent, and stage presence. 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 Friday August 2nd.

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

Please click here for application form –IBC entry_form

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.

Participating artists will be judged by a panel of three judges. The Smoky Mountain Blues Society holds its regional competition in late Summer in order for the winning acts have plenty of time to raise much-needed funds and prepare for the excitement of Memphis! 

We will have our regional competition at Bluetick Tavern in Maryville on Sunday, August 18th starting at 5 PM.  Doors open at 4:30 PM, music starts at 5 PM. Purchase tickets at the door, no advance sales.  Proceeds go towards funding the winning bands’ travel to Memphis.

2023 International Blues Challengers

Solos – Foster Meeks, Kelle Jolly, & Trey Coleman 

Duos – The ‘K’ Town Ghosts

Bands

Jace Nicholas Band

Ray Beltran & BlueMax

Project Blue

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 7– 11, 2025 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: https://blues.org/international-blues-challenge/ 

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

Bluetick Tavern is a non-smoking and family-friendly with a delicious menu and beverage service.   

Congratulations to our last years Youth Band winner, Danny Garwood: Solo Winner, Foster Meeks and Band Winner, Ray Beltran & BlueMax, they all advanced to IBC in Memphis. Foster Meeks could not attend so our second place winner, Kelle Jolly who represented us.