2019 SCI Blues Challenge: Boogie to Beale

Blues Challenge Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SCI Blues Challenge?

The SCI Blues Challenge is a qualifying round for participation in the Blues Foundation's Annual International Blues Challenge held in Memphis each year.   SCI Blues Society uses the Blues Foundation's rules and scoring as the basis for our competitions.   For the Blues Foundation's complete set of rules, visit the IBC Section of the Blues Foundation's website.  Additional SCI Blues Society rules are included on our rules page.  The SCI Blues Challenge is made up of four parts; the Band competition, the Solo/Duo competition, the Youth Group selection and the Best Self-Produced CD selection.

The winning Band and Solo/Duo artists will represent the South Central Indiana Blues Society at the 2020 International Blues Challenge (IBC), in Memphis from January 28th to February 1st, 2020.  The acts will be competing against other winning entrants – about 250 acts – from affiliated Blues societies worldwide.  The IBC is the nation's biggest and most respected showcase for Blues musicians, and represents an international search by The Blues Foundation and its affiliated organizations for the Blues band and solo/duo Blues act ready to perform on a national stage.

Who can enter the SCI Blues Challenge?

The SCI Blues Challenge Band and Solo/Duo competition is open to any blues performer or act from Indiana or bordering states (within 250 miles of Nashville, IN).  The act or performer’s name must have never appeared on a final Blues Music Award ballot (formerly the Handy Award).  The performer or act must not have already qualified for the 2020 IBC through another affiliate.   

The Youth Category is for musicians under 21.  Youth acts will be appointed by the SCI Blues board members.  The IBC Youth Showcase follows the same rules as the Band & Solo/Duo competitions but are not judged.

The IBC and SCI Blues Society adhere to the following criteria for what constitutes a band, what constitutes a solo/duo act, and what constitutes as a youth act:

  • Band – any act with three or more musicians. Vocalists are counted as musicians for the purpose of this competition. Both electric and acoustic instruments are allowed.

  • Solo/Duo – any act with one or two musicians. Vocalists are counted as musicians for the purpose of this competition. Both electric and acoustic instruments are allowed.

  • Youth – any act that all members are under the age of 21 at the time of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. PLEASE NOTE: Youth acts will be appointed by the SCI Blues board members.

 

When is the 2019 SCI Blues Challenge Band & Solo/Duo Competition?

Sunday August 18, 2019 – 2pm ET

Where is the 2019 SCI Blues Challenge Band & Solo/Duo Competition?

Mike's Music & Dance Barn, 2277 State Road 46, Nashville, IN 47448

How do I apply?

Acts must:

  • Pay a $40 entry fee (fee waived for SCI Blues members who are a named act on our website and have a valid membership through January 2019) – fee is payable on our website via PayPal or by check made out to SCI Blues and sent to P.O. Box 2059, Nashville, IN 47448

  • Complete an entry form.  Deadline is August 1st, 2019

    • Submit a minimum of 20 minutes of Blues music. We will accept Audio CD's, digital Videos or MP3's (may be submitted electronically or via internet links).

    • Submit a bio of 200 words or less

    • Submit a digital photo of the act (300 dpi jpg) or mail a 3x5 photo

    • Submit a stage plot showing all instrument locations and vocal microphones needed

 

In the event of a controversial entry or too many or too few entries, competitor selection will be made by a committee of SCI Blues Board Members.  If you have any questions, please ask.

How will I be scored?

Each judge will indicate his or her Raw Score - a whole number between 1 and 10 - in each category and turn that information over to the scorekeeper.

1-3 – Typical of a beginning blues band

4-5 – Typical of a local weekend band

6-7 – Typical of an advanced local band but not yet ready to headline a major blues club

8-9 – Typical of the quality of blues artists who headline major clubs

10 – Typical of those who play the main stage at major blues festivals

 

Categories include Talent Vocal, Blues Content, Stage Presence and Originality.

  1. Blues Content: The sound and feel of the music should be true to any of the blues’ subcategories: traditional blues, country blues, soul blues, blues rock and/or contemporary blues.  Judges will be listening for inspired and original song selections.  Creative reach is encouraged.

  2. Vocals: This category refers to the act’s overall vocal skills including tone, musicality, meaning and expression.

  3. Talent: The acts instrumental skills for all instruments played.

  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.  Acts must indicate if their songs are their own original material and/or identify a song as a cover and acknowledge the originator.

  5. Stage Presence: This category rates the performance aspects of the show.  The ability to command the attention of the audience by the impressiveness of one’s manner and appearance on stage.  Proper use of microphones and amplifiers will be considered.

To reflect the relative importance among the categories, the scores in each category are weighted. Raw scores are multiplied accordingly: Blues Content by four, Originality by three, and each Talent category and Stage Presence by two. The total in each category represents the Weighted Score for that category. Total possible weighted score is 130 points.

What do I win?

 

The Band category winner receives:

  • Qualification for the International Blues Challenge representing the SCI Blues Society

  • Prize Money of $1500

  • Funds from an SCI Blues Society-hosted fundraiser show, pending successful registration for IBC

The Solo/Duo category winner receives:

  • Qualification for the International Blues Challenge

  • Prize Money of $750

  • Funds from an SCI Blues Society-hosted fundraiser show, pending successful registration for IBC

The People’s Choice winner receives:

  • The People’s Choice trophy

  • Other prizes to be announced

The appointed Youth band receives:

  • Qualification for the International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase in Memphis representing the SCI Blues Society

The Best Self-Produced Blues CD appointee receives:

  • Qualification for the International Blues Challenge Best Self-produced Blues CD Contest representing the SCI Blues Society

How can I avoid losing points?

An act will be penalized one point from its Total Weighted Scores for every ten seconds that it runs over the allotted time for the set. There is also a penalty for finishing more than 3 minutes early.  Points are also deducted for failing to identify cover songs or failing to give credit to a song’s originator.

At the SCI Blues’ discretion, a policy of penalty for excessive time loading-in and out will also be applied.

In addition, SCI Blues Challenge participants can lose points for non-compliance with the following administrative aspects of the competition:

  • Act completes the entry form satisfactorily

  • Act checks in with Venue Coordinator at LEAST 30 minutes before the FIRST ACT plays

  • Act is in the venue at the proper time and ready to perform

What do I need to bring?

The SCI Blues Society will provide the equipment backline and sound. So the setup on stage will include a drum kit with snare drum, guitar and bass amps, keyboards and mics.  Drummers should bring their own sticks, cymbals and kick pedals.  Drummers CAN (but are not required to) bring their snare, as well.   Harmonica players CAN (but are not required to) bring their own harp amp.  Keyboard players CAN (but are not required to) bring their own keyboards and keyboard amps, keyboard stands will be provided. Effects racks and other auxiliary equipment are permitted.  

Musicians must include any additional or special equipment needed on the entry form.

Competitors are prohibited from bringing their own GUITAR amplifiers (harp amps and keyboard amps being the only exceptions). If you use a DI, please bring it.  

The SCI Blues Society reserves the right to approve or restrict any and all equipment an entrant wishes to bring on stage.  Please provide a stage plot with your entry form.

 

What else should I consider?

  • SCI Blues Society reserves the right to use any contestant’s name, voices, pictures, visages and other likeness for the purpose of advertising, publishing and promoting the IBC or SCI Blues Society.

  • ​SCI Blues Society reserves the right to videotape or otherwise record all challenge performances. SCI Blues Society shall retain total ownership of all recordings and programs, and reserves the right to edit the program, the right to broadcast the program, the right to copyright the program and the right to license others to use these rights.

 

  • In the event of a controversial entry or too many or too few entries, competitor selection will be made by a committee of SCI Blues Board Members. 

 

  • All SCI Blues Challenge 2019 winning musicians must register for and compete in the International Blues Challenge 2020 and are responsible for their own expenses during their trip to Memphis on January 28nd thru Feb. 1st, 2020.  Youth representatives will play in Memphis on Friday night, January 25th only.

  • The musicians that attend IBC must be the same musicians that won the SCI Blues Challenge

If you have any questions, please ask. info@sciblues.org

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