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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.

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. On Sunday, August 20th we had the following Solos/Duos & Bands perform:

Solos – Foster Meeks, Kelle Jolly, & Trey Coleman
Duos – The ‘K’ Town Ghosts
Bands: Jace Nicholas Band, Ray Beltran & BlueMax, & Project Blue

Proceeds go towards funding the winning bands’ travel to Memphis.

Congratulations to both Foster Meeks and Ray Beltran BlueMax; along with our youth band, Danny Garwood will represent East Tennessee at the International Blues Challenge to be held on January 16 – 20, 2024 on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee!  Foster Meeks can not attend so our second place winner, Kelle Jolly will be representing us. 

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.

We are pleased to send Danny Garwood for Youth Showcase, Solo/Duo Winner Kelle Jolly and Band Winner Ray Beltran BlueMax, to IBC in Memphis.