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JSJBF is a Proud Member of The Blues Foundation

JSJBF International Blues Challenge 2017-2018 Invitation

JSJBF Challenge for Representatives to the
International Blues Challenge held in Memphis, Tennessee
on January 17th to 20th, 2016

Band Entry Deadline is September 7, 2017

CD Entry Deadline is September 19, 2017

2017-8 International Blues Challenge Competition
Official Rules and Event Summary

The JSJBF IBC Committee is seeking interested Blues Bands to sign up to  participate in our local competition to choose our representative to the 2018 International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee January 17-20, 2018 for the 34th anniversary of the largest gathering of blues bands in the world.

As you know we took last year off. I've talked to some of our former participants and received various suggestions about changes to our format: new location, reduce the number of nights, allow fan voting etc.. Also there were new rules changes adopted by the Blues Foundation for this year's competition: an act may now only compete in the IBC in Memphis a total of 3 times and they can not be consecutive years( this does not limit the number of times you can compete in the local competition to try and get to Memphis); an act may enter a local challenge within 250 miles of its home affiliate provided the affiliates are in agreement to allow it; and the scoring multipliers have been changed from 2x to 3x for originality and from 3x to 2x for instrumental and vocal talent. Stage presence stays at x2 and Blues content stays at x4.

 We tried to obtain a new location but could not work out an arrangement that was cost effective so at least for this year we are back at Paul's Tavern.

We are going back to our old format of a one day competition and holding it on a Saturday afternoon 1-7pm so that bands will not have to give up any gigs in order to compete.We considered various formats for fan participation in the voting. We have prided ourselves on following the same format used by the Blues Foundation in its scoring during its actual competition. At least for the time being it has been decided not to add components of our own to the scoring criteria.

So, the local competition will consist of a one day event featuring up to 10 bands. Set length will depend on the number of bands competing.It will be conducted on Oct 7, 2017 at Paul's Tavern,1705 Main St.,Lake Como,NJ from 1pm to 7pm.

There will be a $15 per person entry donation for all who attend the competition except for the judges and band members( spouses, girlfriends, significant others and family members of band members will be required to pay the entry fee).

Any band that wishes to participate must be available for their designated time slot on October 7. In addition they should be prepared to perform at their own fundraising events to raise money to help defray the cost of attending the IBC Competition in Memphis. The Blues Foundation has strongly recommended that the participants arrive on Tuesday January 16, 2018 for the competition that will start on Wednesday January 17,2018.

In order to be eligible for the competition your 2017-2018 band dues ( for Sept 1 -August 31, 2018) of $75 must be current at the time of your performance.Any questions about your dues should be addressed with the Foundation Office Manager, Doris Lazur at 732-933-1984.

The Foundation reserves to the right to cancel the competition in the event an insufficient number of bands express interest in the competition.

The winning band will be encouraged to engage in fundraising to help cover its costs. It will need to raise enough money to pay for roundtrip plane tickets or other method of transportation and hotel accommodations (suggested on being two band members per room) plus all other expenses (meals,other ground transportation etc.)

The Foundation will cooperate with the winner in helping it advertise its fund raisers,email notices to the JSJBF individual and band members and provide volunteers to work at any local fund raisers the band schedules in Monmouth County.

The Foundation will contribute 50% of the net money collected at the door (there will be costs for the sound man but no cost for the rental fee which is being paid by a sponsor)

The bands chosen for our local competition will be expected to help advertise the events by listing its participation on its web sites,notifying the persons on their email list and through their social media and encouraging them to attend the competitions. Assigned set times will be provided to the bands chosen by the Committee after the response date has expired.

If you are interested in participating, please email JSJBF IBC Chairperson  Gene Iadanza at with your band name and the name, mailing address,phone number and email address of your contact person. For more information about the competition go to the Blues Foundation's web site at and click on "events" and then 'IBC'.

Gene Iadanza, JSJBF IBC Chairman




2015-6 International Blues Challenge Competition
Official Rules and Event Summary

The Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation will conduct a competition to choose its band and solo/duo representatives for the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee January 26, 2014 to January 31, 2016. Any member blues band is eligible to submit a request to compete in the competition as long as it has never been nominated for a Blues Foundation Blues Music Award. The band must consist of at least three musicians. Vocalists are counted as musicians for the purpose of the competition. Both electric and acoustic instruments are allowed. An act may not compete and be the Foundation's representative three years in a row.


As a condition of eligibility, each applicant is to submit its request to participate, by email, on or before September 7, 2015 to the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation, c/o Gene Iadanza at

The request must include the band's name, band members' names, a contact person's address, phone number and email address; and if you have not performed at one of the Foundation's events or a Long Branch or Keyport music event in the last 3 years, the following additional information: 1) Band bio, 2) copy of the band's most recent CD ( unless one has been previously submitted to the Committee in a previous IBC submission). All participants must submit a check payable to JSJBF for the 2015-2016band dues (if they have not already been paid) in the sum of $75


The committee will review the information supplied by the applicant bands and choose up to 7 bands per semi-final date.. The competition will be structured to mirror, as much as possible, the IBC's procedures (with the exception of the set length). Each band participant will perform in a thirty minute set. (A participant may play slightly less than the allotted time to avoid penalty points but may not exceed the time limit) in the semi-finals on either Saturday October 3 or 10 and if chosen for the finals on Saturday October 17. The committee will assign the time slots for each competitor .It will work, as best it can, on the assignment of the semi-final dates to accommodate a band's choice due to paid gigs. Each competitor must arrive at least 1 hour before its allotted time slot.


Scoring will be based on the system utilized by the Blues Foundation. The categories include: Blues Content, Vocals, Talent, Originality and Stage Presence:

1. Blues Content: Everyone has his or her own interpretation of what is and is not the Blues. Any given three- judge panel will include members with varying opinions covering the spectrum of Blues whenever possible, from the most traditional to southwest blues and rock/blues. Bands should pick their materials 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 (they refer to this as the "No Mustang Sally rule.")

2. Vocals: The act's vocal skills.

3. Talent: The act's instrumental skills.

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

5. Stage Presence: Over the years the quality of talent has risen so dramatically at the IBC competition that it is no longer considered 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.

The raw scores, based on a maximum 10 points per category, will then be adjusted by a "weighted multiplier" of x4 for blues content; x3 for talent and vocals; and x2 for originality and stage presence.


The Committee will select the panel of judges and provide the names to the band participants, to the extent possible, at least one week before the competition dates. Any conflict concerns with the committee's selections must be made to the event Chairman within 24 hours of receiving notice of the list of judges. The Committee's determination on selection, after consideration of any concerns expressed, is final and not subject to challenge.

A band may not substitute members participating in the competition between the semi-final and finals without the permission of the Committee. Permission will be granted, at the discretion of the Committee, based on emergency situations only (illness of band member or immediate family member; death in family, etc.) As prior notice of the competition dates is provided, attendance at conflicting engagements or events will not be considered as good cause to allow a substitution .It is the responsibility of the bandleader to insure that the same band members are available for both nights of the competition. Substitution without approval of the Committee will result in disqualification of the band.

- Gene Iadanza, JSJBF 2015-6 IBC co-chair


Download this information as a word .doc file

JSJBF International Blues Competition 2017-8

Bands being chosen now.

One afternoon only this year!

Finals: Sat., October 7th, 2017, 1 pm - 7 pm

$15 admission, doors open 12.30, music starts at 1

Paul's Tavern 1705 Main Street, Lake Como. Map

Join us for one afternoon of great music as we select who will be JSJBF's representatives to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next near.

International Blues Competition Page | Paul's Tavern Homepage

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