ELIGIBILITY: Any artist who has received a Blues Music Award nomination is ineligible. All other musicians who have had peripheral and/or professional contact through performance with a Blues Music Award (formerly the W. C. Handy awards) nominee, including but not limited to touring band members and studio musicians, are deemed eligible for the PBPS Blues Challenge. The exception is band members of a band nominated for Band of the Year. Each member is considered a Blues Music Award nominee even though the band name, not each band member’s name appears on the final ballot. The first place finishers of the PBPS Blues Challenge are not eligible for two years. No Act can have more than 50% people from another Act.
PARTICIPATION: Order of play in the Solo/Duo Division, the Youth Challenge, and the Band Division of the PBPS Blues Challenge is determined by a random drawing. All acts must be available to participate in the final round. A spokesperson from each advancing act must be present at the conclusion of Round II for the drawing of time slots in the final round. If less than 8 acts are entered in either the solo/duo competition or the band competition, the PBPS may elect to have only one round for that particular division of the Blues Challenge. It is agreed by the spokesperson that he/she and each member of the act, do hereby accept full responsibility for all taxes and restrictions related to the PBPS Blues Challenge prizes received by the act. Further, each member of the act permits The Blues Foundation, Inc. and the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society (PBPS), the right to make use of his/her/their names, voices, pictures, visage and other likenesses of the act, for the media, including entertainment and music syndicated radio, film and/of television shows presented or produced by the Blues Foundation, Inc. and/or the PBPS. In addition, the spokesperson and each member or the act hereby agrees that the Blues Foundation, Inc. and the PBPS will retain total ownership of the program(s) and 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.
PRIZES: Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in the Solo/Duo Division and in the Band Division. A cash prize will be awarded to the first place winner in the Youth Division. The winners of the PBPS Blues Challenges will be eligible to represent the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society in the 33rd Annual International Blues Challenge hosted by the Blues Foundation in Memphis, TN January 31 – February 4, 2017. If the winners cannot attend the IBC, the next highest placing act will be entered as the PBPS official representative. In the IBC, a musician cannot compete in both the Band Division and the Solo/Duo Division, even if that musician represents a different Affiliate in each.
EQUIPMENT: Acts are provided with ample stage performance area, professional equipment, and a sound technician. For the band competition: a sound system, bass rig, 2 guitar amps, keyboard amp, drums and stage monitors are provided. For the solo/duo competition: a sound system, bass rig, 2 guitar amps, and stage monitors will be provided. Competitors are prohibited from bringing their own amplifiers (harp amps and keyboard amps being the only exceptions, though we will provide a keyboard amp) Please bring a DI (if you use one). Every effort will be made to provide suitable equipment. Exceptions to this prohibition may only be granted pursuant to a formal written petition submitted in writing and received via email by the Event Producer (Info@piedmontblues.org) and must include a compelling reason for inclusion. With the number of bands participating in each venue, it is impossible for us to allow every player to bring an amp, space considerations prohibit it. An act may request that its own sound engineer confer with the professional technician provided. The technician will do a sound check at the beginning of each day. There will be no individual sound checks. Pedals will be allowed. The musicians must respect the equipment.
JUDGING INFORMATION: The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society endeavors to provide fair and impartial judging for all sessions of the Blues Challenge. No member of the PBPS Board of Directors or any officer of the PBPS will be on the panel of judges. By the same standard, no member of the PBPS Board of Directors will be eligible to compete in the Blues Challenge.
Judges are recruited from the music industry, i.e. club owners, entertainment journalists, booking agents, board members of other Blues Societies, radio personalities, etc. The officers and board members of the PBPS will in no way influence the judging process.
- Blues Content: Judges will be looking for the content of Blues songs in your performance. They will be asked to remain impartial on the question of their own personal preference for a particular Blues style, i.e., Country Blues, Chicago Blues, Texas Blues, Jump Blues, or Piedmont Blues. They also will be asked to be impartial regarding personal preferences for solo versus group acts and acoustic versus electric acts.
- Vocals: The acts vocal skills.
- Talent: How well a soloist or an individual in the act performs on his/her instrument and/or vocals.
- Originality: This criterion not only includes performance of original compositions, but also original arrangements of another Blues artist’s songs. An act can do cover songs, but you are judged on how you add your own style to the song. Each act has its own idea of how it wants to come across on stage.
- Stage Presence: Your act will be judged on your overall presentation of the Blues. Judges will be looking at vocal presentation, instrumentation intonation, your selections, the tempo of the songs, and your ability to communicate the blues to the audience.
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 is multiplied by four, Talent and vocals 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 140.
- Participants will be provided 15 minutes in the preliminary round. Should they advance to the final round, 20 minutes will be provided for their performance. Musicians will be penalized one point from its Total Weighted Score for each ten seconds that it runs overtime. There is a one point penalty if you leave 3 or more minutes left on the timer. At the producing organization’s discretion, a policy of penalty for excessive time loading-in and out will also be applied. You have 10 (ten) minutes to set up and 5 (five) minutes to exit the stage. Your stage time begins when the your act takes the stage, sound equipment has been adjusted, and the emcee announces you. A countdown timer will be visible at the back of the venue to track your time.