Central Delaware Blues - International Blues Challenge


What is the International Blues Challenge?

The Central Delaware Blues Society holds an IBC Competition annually during October. The winning band wins (at least) $1500.00 to be used toward their trip to Memphis in January. The winning band MUST go to the IBC in Memphis to receive the award for winning. Scroll down this page for more information and to download the official CDBS entry form.

The International Blues Challenge represents the worldwide search for those Blues Bands and Solo/Duo Blues Acts ready to perform on the international stage, yet just needing that extra big break. Each Affiliate of The Blues Foundation has the right to send a band and a solo/duo act to represent its organization at the IBC.

The IBC is judged by blues professionals from across the world who have years of experience in listening to, producing, and creating blues music. The Blues Foundation has established a set of criteria by which all acts are evaluated throughout the five days of the IBC.

Affiliated organizations are required to stage a regional preliminary IBC competition, with the winner of that event representing the organization in the International Blues Challenge held annually in Memphis, TN along historic Beale Street. While Affilated Organizations are encouraged to follow The Blues Foundation’s structure and rules during their local challenges, each organization is free to structure its preliminary rounds as it sees fit, as long as a true challenge between multiple acts takes place resulting in a single band and/or solo/duo act being identified. 

Best Produced CD

Central Delaware Blues Society submits one Self-Produced CD to the Blues Foundation for judging annually.  To inquirer about submitting a CD please use "Contact Us" page or email  our President Jim Martin at CenDelBlues@Outlook.Com or our Director of Entertainment, Craig Coffield, at Coffield01@Comcast.Net .  

The Blues Foundation established an award for the Best Self-Produced CD, given out at the International Blues Challenge, as part of our mission to celebrate blues recording and to ensure the future of this uniquely American art form and to recognize excellence in independent Blues recordings. 

Download The Central Delaware Blues Society IBC entry form

2019 CDBS IBC Entry Form PO Box 155 (pdf)


Central Delaware Blues Society - IBC Entry Form Details


Deadline for entering the Central Delaware Blues Society International Blues Challenge competition is October 4, 2019. Late entries will not be accepted.  

Instructions for entering: Print and fill out the Central Delaware Blues Society IBC website download material or copy and print this page with the bands representative signature at the bottom. (Please print clearly)

To be eligible, you’ll need to send all of the following in a single package:

1. A completed, signed “Central Delaware Blues Society International Blues Challenge (IBC) Entry Form” entry form with confirmation of at least one of the band members being in good standing as a member of the Central Delaware Blues Society. (See: How do I become a member?)

2. Submit the $50.00 band entry fee. Checks or money orders may be made out to Central Delaware Blues Society.

3. Confirmation that all band members have read the Competition Agreement, Eligibility Criteria, Scoring Criteria, Penalty Points and Equipment and Sets. An authorized signature by a representative of The Act is required at the bottom of this agreement.

4. At least 3 sample tunes (complete songs) on CD or video of 3 sample tunes on DVD or Internet links to live videos of performances.  

5. Official band name

6. Short band bio (200 words or less).

7. A digital color or B&W band photo with a 300 dpi resolution. This may be an Internet link.

8. A link to the band’s website or Facebook page.

9. A stage plot to assist our sound crew in making a quick and correct setup for your requirements. 

Failure to send all of the require items may forfeit eligibility. Sample tunes are required in order to qualify.

Materials sent to CDBS will only be returned if a self-addressed stamped envelope is provided. Please mail everything in one package and mail it to the address below by the deadline.

Central Delaware Blues Society

PO Box 155 Dr.

Magnolia, DE 19962

Central Delaware Blues Society International Blues Challenge (IBC) Entry Form agreement:

The undersigned hereby attests that he/she is 18 years of age or older; and is the responsible spokesperson for the individual(s) listed elsewhere on this form and identified below by real or stage name, and herein referred to as The Act.

1. It is agreed by the spokesperson that he/she and each member of The Act, do hereby exempt from all liability, The Central Delaware Blues Society and The Blues Foundation and all persons, organizations and companies that are directly or indirectly associated with the International Blues Challenge.

2. It is further agreed by the spokesperson that he/she and each member of The Act do hereby accept full responsibility for all taxes and restrictions relating to contest prizes received by The Act; further, each member of The Act, listed on the Entry Form, here-within permits The Central Delaware Blues Society the right to make use of his/her/their names, voices, pictures, visages and other likenesses of The Act for the purpose of advertising, publishing and promoting the Blues Challenge through media, including entertainment and music syndicated radio, film and/or television shows presented or produced by The Central Delaware Blues Society or its partners or assigns. In addition, the spokesperson and each member of The Act hereby agrees that The Central Delaware Blues Society will retain total ownership of the program(s), the right to edit the program(s), the right to broadcast the program(s), the right to copyright the program(s) and the right to license others to use these rights.

3. The winning act will be required to register online at the Blues Foundation’s website for the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) at least two weeks prior to the official registration deadline or may forfeit their prize monies and the right to represent The Central Delaware Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. At this point the second place act will become the representative contestant. This ensures that the winning act both abides by IBC eligibility rules and shows true intent of traveling to Memphis to compete.

4. Prize monies will be paid to the winning band only, in the form of a check written to one designated representative of the act. Prize monies will be paid at our IBC Fundraiser event scheduled at a later date either in December or January and no later than one week prior to the Memphis International Blues Challenge. An IRS W-9 form will be required to be filled out by the person receiving the check. Failure to meet all eligibility and appearance requirements at the International Blues Challenge will result in forfeiture of prize monies.

5. The undersigned spokesperson hereby acknowledges that each member of The Act is knowledgeable of and agreed to abide by the terms of the Official Rules and Eligibility Criteria and this document, as set forth by The Central Delaware Blues Society.

6. The winning band is expected to play at our IBC fundraiser which is scheduled in December or January following our competition. 

Eligibility Criteria

The winner is obligated to attend the IBC competition in Memphis. Failure to do so negates this contractual agreement.

· An act is limited to two consecutive appearances at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN and must then sit out at least one year before being eligible to compete again. An act under the same name will not be allowed to compete three consecutive years.

· Any artist whose name has appeared on a final Handy/Blues Music Award ballot is ineligible. (All other musicians who have had peripheral and/or professional contact through performance with a Handy/Blues Music Award nominee, including but not limited to touring band members and studio musicians, are deemed eligible for the IBC).

· An individual may not compete in more than one act in any capacity.

· The competition is for Blues Bands.

· No other entry restrictions apply. This means that management contracts, booking agent contracts, recording contracts, performance contracts (even those that include regular television or radio broadcast) and nationally distributed recordings have no bearing on eligibility.

For complete International Blues Challenge rules, scoring, and other information visit


Scoring Criteria

The following scoring criteria reflect in large part the Blues Foundation recommendations as they apply to the International Blues Challenge. Categories include Talent, Blues Content, Stage Presence and Originality.

1. Blues Content: Everyone has his or her own interpretation of what is and is not Blues. Thus, any given three-judge panel will include members with varying opinions of Blues, covering the spectrum of Blues whenever possible, from the most traditional to soul/blues and rock/blues. Bands should pick material carefully. At the Memphis semi-finals and finals, the judges are Blues professionals, not a bar crowd, and are likely to be unimpressed with song selections that are uninspired. (Call this - with all due respect to Sir Mack Rice and Wilson Pickett - the “no Mustang Sally rule.”)

2. Vocals: The act's vocal skills

3. Talent: This category is self-explanatory - the act’s vocal and/or instrumental skills.

4. Originality: Original work is encouraged. Cover tunes are allowed but playing the recorded rendition lick by lick is discouraged; will not be looked upon favorably by the judges; and will be reflected in scoring.

5. Stage Presence: Over the years, the quality of talent has risen so dramatically that the IBC no longer consider this an “amateur” competition. Most contestants have performed on stage enough to know that they are not simply playing music, but putting on a show. This category rates how “sellable” a band may be.

Band Sets

Each band will have thirty (30) minutes to perform their selections. To assist The Act in their timekeeping a PC displaying your remaining time will be visible to all band members. It’s your responsibility to make sure you do not run over. There is a 15-minute changeover period between sets. (The oncoming band has ten minutes to set up and the outgoing band has five minutes to tear down.) If a band exceeds the 30-minute performance time or the 15-minute changeover a penalty may apply. (See Penalty Points section).

Weighted Scoring

To reflect the relative importance of each category in the success of a band, a band’s score in each category is weighted. Raw scores for Blues Content are multiplied by four. Talent is multiplied by three. And Originality and Stage Presence are multiplied by two. The total in each category represents the Weighted Score for that category. Total possible weighted score is 110 per judge. CDBS will not use the IBC ranking calculations. The band with the highest sum of Net Weighted Scores is the winner.

Penalty Points

These items demonstrate professionalism and seriousness about the competition: 

· The Act is penalized one point from its Total Weighted Score for each ten seconds that it runs overtime. 

· The same penalty also applies to exceeding the 15-minute changeover period. (The oncoming band has ten minutes to set up. If the preceding band takes more than five minutes to clear the stage, the oncoming band will not be penalized.)

· Participants can lose points for non-compliance with administrative aspects of the competition.

· Online application was not filled out completely, accurately and before the deadline.

· Act photo was not supplied by the deadline or in the format and size requested.

· Act bio was not supplied by the deadline and in the manner requested.

· Act is not checked in at the “Band Check-In” counter on or before the final check-in time of 12:30 on the day of the event. All bands must be checked in by 12:30, no exceptions permitted.

· Act is not ready to perform at proper time. In the event that a band scheduled to play in a specific slot is not able to perform for whatever reason, the Central Delaware Blues Society will have the authority to deduct a point from the band’s overall weighted score for that competition. The next band scheduled to play will be asked to step into that slot. Should that band, for whatever reason, not be able to perform when asked, the CDBS Competition Coordinator (CC) has the authority to deduct a point from that band, and so on. With that in mind, The Central Delaware Blues Society strongly suggests that after a band has met with their CC for their required check-in, they stay in the venue and are available to perform at the CC’s direction, regardless of which slot they are scheduled to play. Bands that have missed their designated slot will be allowed to perform later but will still suffer the loss of a point on the weighted score. (See: event details)

Equipment and Sets:

· The Central Delaware Blues Society will provide the PA system and limited backline. The setup on stage will include a drum kit with snare drum, amps and microphones. Drummers should bring their own cymbals and kick pedals (Yes, you will need your cymbals, you might want to bring your own snare too) and Harmonica players CAN (but are not required) bring their own harp amp. Keyboard players should bring their own keyboards and keyboard amp.

· Musicians must include on this registration form any additional or special equipment needed. 

· All applicants must have at least one Central Delaware Blues Society member in good standing.

Applicants’ Printed Name and Signature

________________________________  _____________________________________________

Printed Name                                   Band Name



Special Equipment Requirements: ___________________________________________________________________