Blues Foundation IBC 2024 Image

Exactly what is the IBC experience? Worldwide affiliates of the Blues Foundation have their own annual blues challenges, and the winners of solo/duo and band categories head to Memphis to compete in the International Blues Challenge – the largest gathering of blues musicians (and fans) on this planet!

It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-timer (or an old-timer like me – this was my 22nd year to attend!), blues musicians and blues lovers from far and wide converge on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, each year for a blues music experience of a lifetime. It is five days of absolute heaven!

Almost every spot on Beale Street becomes a competition venue, and most are right next door, or across the street, from one another. It’s almost a win-win situation because you don’t have to walk too far to get a change of venue.

This year, we were faced with many challenges: COLD, sleet, snow, and ice, but none of that seemed to matter. The Triangle Blues Challenge representatives, Greylan Hall and the Nasty Kings (band) and Eric “E-Train” Manning. (solo) absolutely made the best of their IBC experience! Greylan made it through two nights of quarterfinals, and E-Train continued on to the semi-finals.

Previous Triangle Blues Challenge representatives, Ruth Wyand (solo) made it to the 2017 International Blues Challenge finals and in 2019 our solo representative, Jon Shain, won! Everyone who makes it to the IBC is an absolute winner, and I know all our local representatives made the most of the unbelievable networking opportunity. I am so proud!

When the Triangle Blues Society has their Blues Challenge each year, we truly appreciate the support our amazing local blues community gives us! It means so much, not only to TBS, but to the competing acts, as well. You guys came out in full force for our 2024 Road to Memphis event, and please know, all the profits from RTM go to send our acts to Memphis. These individuals not only must take almost a week away from their jobs and families, but also have to cover travel, hotel and meal expenses as well, but the rewards are great!

I do believe this was my best IBC experience to date, and I’m already making plans for 2025! I’d like to sincerely thank our “blues family” (especially Andrea and Bill Whittington from the Blue Note Grill) for helping our winners to compete in the international arena! You have given us a “home.”

International Blues Challenge Liaison
Triangle Blues Society

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