The Journey To Memphis is the Cascade Blues Association’s regional competition to select the acts that will represent our organization and region in the next year’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN that will be held in early 2016. Up to 250 acts from around the world converge on Beale Street to perform before the music industry looking for new talent, with the chance to win recognition and prizes that include major festival performances and more. But the only way an act may participate is to win a regional competition held by one of The Blues Foundation’s affiliated societies like the Cascade Blues Association.

The Journey To Memphis will be held in two rounds. The opening round will take place over two nights at The Lehrer on Friday, June 5th and Saturday, June 6th. Acts are scored by a trio of judges selected for their backgrounds and knowledge of the blues. The two highest scoring acts each night advance to the finals held at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.

Applications to participate in the competition will be accepted now until Wednesday, April 1st at the Cascade Blues Association membership meeting. No late applications will be accepted. All eligible acts that meet our criteria as described below will be able to compete. We will adjust the time schedule to ensure all are included. Each act will perform either Friday or Saturday and are scheduled as drawn at random, so we request that you do not schedule other gigs until you know which night you are scheduled.

Here’s what you need to do to enter:

  • Entry fee is $25.00 (This is an increase from last year and is the first time we have raised the fee in more than ten years. This is to stay consistent with what other societies have been charging – though still less than many – and all fees collected go to the prize money to the competition’s winners to help cover travel expenses.)
  • Each act must have at least one person in the band who is a member of the Cascade Blues Association.
  • Only acts located within the region of Oregon, Washington or Idaho are allowed to enter the Journey To Memphis.
  • Any act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music Awards from The Blues Foundation are ineligible to compete.
  • Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years, regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year before being allowed to compete again.
  • Along with your $25.00 application fee, send an up-to-date band bio including names of all members, a 300 dpi photo of the band, full song samples of the band’s music (this may be used on a radio broadcast to promote the event), and we need to be made aware of any band member who may be under 21 years of age at the time of the competition so the venue is aware ahead of time for Oregon Liquor Commission laws.
  • We require that any act that moves forward in the competition must use the same band members that they won the rounds with. In other words, if you won with a certain bass player or drummer at the Waterfront Blues Festival, that bassist and drummer must be in your band to compete in Memphis. Exceptions will made in rare circumstances when not under control of the act, such as health issues.
  • We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so with other societies. All that we ask is that if you win another group’s competition before ours is held, or if you win ours before theirs, then you remove yourself from further competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.

Applications can be sent to Journey To Memphis c/o Cascade Blues Association, PO Box 6566, Portland, Oregon 97228-6566. All entries must be received no later than April 1.