The Journey To Memphis is the Cascade Blues Association’s regional competition to select the acts that will represent our organization and region in next year’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN, held in early 2018. This year saw more than 260 acts converge on Beale Street to represent blues societies from around the world in band, solo/duo and youth showcase categories. And the Cascade Blues Association was represented extremely well as our band entry Rae Gordon & The Backseat Drivers came out in third place overall. A great achievement to say the least. The music industry is in full force during the IBC, searching for new talent and offering opportunities 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 competition consists of two rounds. The opening round will be held on Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3 at The Vinyl Tap, 2099 SE Oak Grove Blvd. Acts will be selected by random drawing to fill the time slots during the event. Entries should keep both dates open until they know when they have been drawn for. Acts are scored by a trio of judges selected for their backgrounds and knowledge of the blues. The highest scoring acts from each night of competition (up to four acts) will advance to the finals held at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.
Applications to participate in the competition will be accepted up until Wednesday, April 5 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. The performance schedule for the competition is drawn at random.
Here’s what you need to do to enter:
- Entry fee is $25.00
- 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 or Washington 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, please remove yourself from further competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.