UK Blues Challenge


Each year, the UKBlues Federation organises a UKBlues Challenge to choose a band or artist to represent the UK at the annual International Blues Challenge organised by the Blues Foundation and held in Memphis every January and at the European Blues Challenge organised by the European Blues Union held each year at a different venue around Europe in March or April.

In just a few years the UK Blues Challenge has become a major event in the UK blues calendar and enjoys a stature that is growing exponentially.

In keeping with our ethos of being a pan-UK organisation, the Challenge location moves around the UK and past Challenges have been held at the Boom Boom Club in Sutton (twice), the Robin 2 in Bilston, The Cavern Club in Liverpool and, in 2018, at Worthing Pier’s Southern Pavilion.

The 2019 Challenge, the 6th such event, will take place on Saturday 14th September 2019 at the renowned and very popular Bluefunk Rhythm & Blues Club in Poynton, Cheshire. More details will follow.

Past UK representatives have included Laurence Jones, Ben Poole, BabaJack, 24 Pesos, David Migden & the Twisted Roots, LaVendore Rogue and Kaz Hawkins who won the European Blues Challenge in 2017. Representing the UK this year is the Kyla Brox Band who recently got through to the semi finals of the 2019 International Blues Challenge.

The participants in the UKBlues Challenge are chosen based upon input from a nomination panel comprising more than 750 people from right across the UK blues scene and, for the first time this year, invitations to nominate have gone out via social media. The process is carried out in accordance with criteria laid down by the Blues Foundation and the European Blues Union.

If you would like to take part in this process, simply follow the link further down the page. But before you rush off there please read the following:

You will be invited to select the three acts that you feel would best represent the UK at the EBC and IBC.

When making your selections, please bear in mind the following EBC rules which apply:

  • At least 50% of the members of the bands must have the nationality of and reside in the country they represent.
  • Acts who participated in a previous edition of the EBC, but did not win, may not compete again until 3 years after their original participation
  • UK bands not eligible for selection in view of this three year rule are:

Kyla Brox Band
LaVendore Rogue
Kaz Hawkins Band

Any band/artist nominated that does not meet these criteria will be disqualified. The decision of the UKBlues Federation in this respect is final.

Contestants at the EBC are awarded points using the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • Instrumental talent
  • Vocal talent
  • Stage presence
  • Blues content

Please bear in mind these judging criteria and rules when making your selection

Any incomplete submissions will be discarded as will any duplicate/multiple submissions.

Also, before making your choices, please take time to have a look at and a listen to the previous winners to get a good feel for the sort of acts that seem to do well at the European Blues Challenge.  

Watch footage of winners of previous European Blues Challenges here and of the 2018 European Blues Challenge winners here. If you would like to find out more about previous winners you can find links to their websites here.

As you will no doubt remember, the 2017 EBC held in Denmark was won by the UK's representative, the multi-award winning Kaz Hawkins.

Watch footage of all 21 contestants in the 2017 EBC here

Our thanks go to Dave Raven and the European Blues Union for making available these showreels.


More information about the International and European Blues Challenges can be found at and

Visit our News page to find details of all 22 contestants in the 9th European Blues Challenge to be held in Ponta Delgada, The Azores in early April 2019.



9th European Blues Challenge, Punta Delgada, Azores, Portugal 5-6 April 2019


They did it... flew the flag sung the Blues and celebrated. Congratulations to Kyla Brox and her band of wonderful musicians.




What a fabulous evening we had at Worthing Pier's Southern Pavilion on Saturday 8th September where a great and enthusiastic audience cheered to the rafters when the magnificent Kyla Brox was declared the winner of the 5th UKBlues Challenge and invited to go to represent the UK at both the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2019 and the European Blues Challenge in The Azores in April 2019.

All five contestants -  Greg Coulson Band, Carl North & the Lonely Hearts, Kyla Brox Band, Catfish and Tom C Walker Band.  - treated us to a fabulously varied evening of top flight music and all proved that they were worthy of taking part in the Challenge. Congratulations go to all of them on making the event so very special.

Greg  Coulson Band - Photo courtesy Liz Aiken

Carl North & The Lonely Hearts - Photo courtesy Liz Aiken

Kyla Brox Band - Photo courtesy Liz Aiken

Catfish - Photo courtesy Liz Aiken

Tom C Walker Band - Photo courtesy Liz Aiken

But special congratulations to Kyla Brox and her band who we are both proud and pleased to have as the UK's representative at the International and European Blues Challenges next year.

This great photo from Richard Dunning sums it up as four of the five contestants jam in the evening's finale.

But don't take my word for it, read the full story and some great comments from those who were there.