8th European Blues Challenge, Hell, Norway 15-17 March 2018 - Performing Artists
Kutscher’s Blues Band
Kutscher’s Blues Band succeed in blending the rock-spirit of the 1960s and 1970s with sounds that Rage Against The Machine, Muse or Mando Diao are famous for. That’s why the band’s music attracts both fans of the blues-rock genre and lovers of classic-rock and pop-acts. Virtuosic guitar riffs go hand in hand with marvellous song writing and gorgeous lyrics. The band manages to tear down the walls between different genres of music, typical elements of blues-rock mingle with elements of classic-and alternative-rock.
Kutscher’s Blues Band is already a popular part of the Viennese (blues-) rock-scene. In 2016, they played a big show at the “Donauinselfest“ (one of Europe’s major music open air-festivals) or as support band for Ryan McGarvey at the Vienna Blues Spring. In 2017, they acted as opener of the first Rory Gallagher Tribute Festival Vienna and as support for Rob Tognoni. They released their album “The KE Sessions” on 13 October 2017.
Ed & The Gators
This is an all-round great blues band. A concert of these guys takes you through the history of the Blues. Besides this they perform a number of covers in their own style and arrangement and they also have written many original songs. Their set takes you from raw Chicago Blues thru West-Coast Swing to funky New-Orleans stuff varied with a more heavy Texan Shuffle and older Country Blues.
Their motto: “you name it, they play it”.
All of this is brought you by four established musicians who have honed their craft over the years with various bands. Together they have found the magic.
Ed De Smul: Vocals, Harmonica, Guitar
Arne Demets: Guitar
Stefan Boret: Bass
Johan Guidee: Drums
Dobre Rano Blues Band
Dobre Rano Blues Band (Good morning blues band) is a Czech-American trio which plays acoustic blues which has its origin by the Mississippi river. The band was formed in 2012. Currently DRBB features Brynn Stephens from California, singer and harmonica's player, then Vít Kopecký who plays the 12 strings acoustic guitar and Vladislav Sosna, drummer and washboard player.
Dobre Rano Blues Band regularly plays at music festivals and clubs across Europe and so far they have played more than 800 concerts. In the past they played on a tour with American guitar player Alex Schultz and Crazy Hambones band.
The band cooperates with Galén publishing and has recorded three albums (Live, Bluesgrass, Blues Before Breakfast) which have received high praise from professional critics and public. Their concerts are known for their show full of energy, playfulness and awesome instrumentals performances.
Brynn Stephens, harmonica, vocals
Vít Kopecký, 12 strings acoustic guitar
Vladislav Sosna, drums and washboard
Fred Okra Band
The music of Fried Okra might be called alternative blues. Originally Fried Okra was very much inspired by the Hill Country blues of the North Mississippi. The first album This is Your Chance France, Baby! both featured traditional covers and songs of the Hill country bluesmen like RL Burnside, Kenny Brown or Robert Belfour.
Today Fried Okra’s repertoire is all original. The sound still has some Mississippi vibe in it but there’s a lot of Copenhagen there too. The idea is still to keep it simple. In 2016, Fried Okra changed to the current set-up of a guitar-bass-and drums-trio adding the one string diddley bo on the side.
Morten Lunn, guitar, diddley bo, lead vocals
Thomas Crawfurd, drums, percussion, second vocals
Anders Wallin, bass, second vocals
Tammepõld, Roots & Kadakas
By chance, the first time that Tammepõld, Roots & Kadakas played together as a trio was at the Estonian Blues Challenge; they won both the overall competition and the Best Guitarist prize for Roots. But then both Tammepõld and Kadakas have worked with Roots before, with the combination of Anneli's drums and Andres' guitar dating back all the way to 1996. A popular solo artist, Mikk Tammepõld is best known to blues fans as the front man of Dramamama, while Anneli Kadakas has made her reputation working with top bands as varied as Rock Hotel and Rasta Orchestra. Dubbed "the King of Estonian Blues" by the press, Andres Roots has toured extensively in Europe and topped the Estonian album charts in 2016 with his "Roots Music" LP.
Mikk Tammepõld – vocals, guitar
Andres Roots – guitar
Anneli Kadakas – drums
Slim Butler hails from the unfamiliar hot bed of Finland´s blues scene, Rovaniemi, way up north. Slim was born 54 years ago as Jarmo Puhakka in this small Arctic Circle town. Ever since picking up his first guitar at the tender age of 12, he’s been fronting local bands, always leaning towards blues, soul and rock.
While Slim is showcasing his talents as a guitarist, he is also handling vocal duties on stage. Slim’s backing band, The SlimCuts consists of badass, hardcore veterans of Finland’s roots music scene; guitarist Harri Raudaskoski, drummer Jartsa Karvonen and Mikko Löytty on bass.
Slim Butler has released two seriously hip-sounding albums: Slim Butler’s Inner Blues and Bad Intention, respectively. Debut album Inner Blues (2012) was produced by Gentle Giant of The Blues, guitarist and producer Otis Grand from UK. Slim’s equally acclaimed, self-produced sophomore set Bad Intention was released in 2016. Both albums include an impressive collection of original songs from this guitar slinger. Breaking new ground sonically with styles ranging from blues, soul, funk to a Hendrixian vibe, Slim Butler has raised some hell and interest among blues communities all over.
Jarmo “Slim” Puhakka: guitar, vocals
Harri Raudaskoski: guitar
Jartsa Karvonen: drums
Mikko Löytty: bass
Kathy Boyé & The DTG Gang
A Blues Universe with a Soul touch. A groovy blues sung with soul by Kathy Boyé and picked up without compromise by her musicians. If her musical tastes attract her towards music like the blues / gospel and soul, she hasn’t forgotten her roots and likes to compose in English and in her mother tongue. She has been sharing the stage with her "heartfelt"! group Mister Tchang, on guitar, Daniel TBone Stec on the organ, Pascal Celma on bass guitar, and Fabien Tournier on the drums. For many years, sharing the stages where Blues, soul, and rhythm & blues intersect so naturally, defies any attempt at labeling.
For her, music is absolute Emotion, Sincerity and Colors... Very visceral, a deep voice and sometimes the harmonica supported by all the DTG Gang ! This concert alternate deep soulful songs and rock blues electric songs, managed by the indomitable Mister Tchang. Two hours, where you will sing, shout, dance, you will be taken and transported in the South of the United States, where Kathy stayed for a long time.
Kathy Boyé Vocals - Harmonica
Mister Tchang Guitar – Vocals – Back up vocals
Daniel TBone Stec Keyboard – Organ - Back up vocals
Pascal Celma Bass - Back up vocals
Fabien Tournier Drums - Back up vocals
Greyhound’s Washboard Band
Greyhound´s Washboard Band is a German-based trio that uses musical instruments from the past including resonator guitars, washboard and a one hundred year old bass drum to create their own roots-influenced blues sound. The band’s repertoire consists mostly of their original blues songs, from autobiographical to bitingly topical, but of course they can play all those classic tunes from the Delta! Their performing style has a back-porch intimacy that draws you in and a driving energy that makes you want to dance all night. Greyhound George’s mastery of the Delta slide guitar is matched by his delicate Piedmont picking. Andy Grünert’s harmonica licks accentuate the authentic old-time feel of Greyhound’s guitar work. Washboard Wolf lays down the rhythm on a unique “groove machine” consisting of vintage washboard, bass drum and many more little things that he found along the road...
Greyhound George, vocals guitar
Washboard Wolf, washboard, percussion
Andy Grünert, harmonica, vocals
At the end of 2013 Attila Suba, a Hungarian blues singer founded the "SoulFool" band. They charm their audience with an energetic, unique and dynamic style, rooted in New Orleans. In their own songs they are mixing the blues, the soul and the gospel with a groovy feeling, the vibes of love and life joy. It is still a young group but in the past year they played over 150 club concerts and dozens of festivals in Hungary and across Europe and Asia
Attila Suba - vocal
Mate Hebenstreit - keyboard
Bence Taborszky - trumpet
Izsák Vidákovich - saxophone
Dominik Hermán - drums
Peter Matus – bass
Don Leone is a blues duo raised in 2016 down in south west Sardinia. Donato Cherchi and Matteo Leone bring their experiences in a raw blues project with a voice, a guitar and a vintage suitcase. Don Leone played in some important blues festivals like Narcao Blues, Rocce Rosse, Mojo Station Blues Festival.
They won the Italian Blues Challenge 2017. Their EP called “Welcome To South West” is sold out and they are writing their first LP.
Donato Cherchi: vocals
Matteo Leone: guitar / kick / charleston / vocals
The Heritage Blues Company
In 2006, Marco (bass) and Mario (guitar) set up The Heritage Blues Company (THBC), named after the Heritage guitar Mario was playing at the time. They play their first gigs in small local bars. Mario, an excellent versatile guitar player, is at this time more or less surrounded by beginners. From there, the band's line-up keeps evolving continuously. In 2008, Rob, a proven blues drummer, boosts the band. Energetic and radiant vocalist Chantal joins in 2013. Her powerful voice soon makes her the front woman of The Heritage Blues Company. The band moves on and keeps on rolling through numerous concerts, from smaller venues to larger events and festivals. With it's particular blues-rock touch, THBC plays the most diverse forms of the blues, grooving from boogie to funk. In 2016, Christian, an experienced blues and boogie pianist, completes the line-up.
Chantal Gottschalk, vocals
Mario Jung, guitar / vocals
Christian Ries, keyboard / vocals
Marco Schwickerath, bass
Rob Schauls, drums / vocals
The Ragtime Rumours
Think of Pokey Lafarge and Tom Waits visiting Django Reinhard, drinking a big mug of coffee while listening to Robert Johnson.
Renewing old-school swing from The Netherlands, soaked with blues/roots and (gypsy)jazz, played with a rock ’n roll attitude. This results in the well received EP, “Ain’t Nobody”, The single and video “Love & Lust” winning the BRUL-Contest, the Dutch Blues Challenge, a lot of gigs in The Netherlands and tours in Norway, Italy and England. At the moment they’re working on their first full length album that’ll be released upcoming spring 2018, meanwhile their new material is only to be heard during concerts and their EP “Ain’t Nobody” is still available. The band is also on Spotify and You-tube.
Tom Janssen, acoustic guitar / banjo / lead-vocals
Niki van der Schuren, upright-bass / vocals / flute / baritone
Sjaak Korsten, drums / kazoo / vocals
Thimo Gijezen, electric guitar /accordion / piano / vocals
Joakim Tinderholt and His Band
Through dedication and 20 years of relentless touring all over the world, Daniel Eriksen has built a reputation as a great slide guitarist. His style of dirty Mississippi delta blues, infused with New Orleans rhythms, gospel and boogie, has brought him many fans around the world. In addition to having studied the old masters of slide, like Blind Willie Johnson and Mississippi Fred McDowell, Eriksen has learned firsthand from modern masters such as Roy Rogers, Bob Brozman and John Mooney. Eriksen has shared the stage with fine blues artists such as Lazy Lester, John Mooney, James Harman, Rick Danko, Eden Brent, Grayson Capps, Fiona Boyes, Bill Abel, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, and opened shows for B.B. King, John Mayall, The Yardbirds and his "mentor" Roy Rogers.
Joakim Tinderholt, lead vocals, lead guitar
William “Bill” Troiani, upright bass and back-up vocals
Håkon Høye, rhythm guitar, baritone guitar, lead guitar and back-up vocals
Robert Alexander Pettersen, drums and percussion
Kjell Magne Lauritzen, piano
Krakóv Street Band
Kraków Street Band is a formation which is becoming the city's new musical highlight for visitors from Poland and abroad. Nine professional musicians, each one member of many different bands and projects, gather on sunny days to perform on Cracow's main square. Their performances burst with positive energy and everyone can see that their main motivation is the joy of playing together, while the coins falling into the guitar case are only a nice addition. In the first half of 2014, the band has rushed into popularity across the whole country. First, the successful crowdfunding campaign for their debut album, finished with 170% of the planned amount. Then, the band got to the finals of “Must Be The Music”, a talent show with millions of viewers, with excellent opinions from the jury in all stages. Finally, Kraków Street Band represented Poland in Haizetara, a great street music festival organised in the Basque country. In 2015 they released their second, exceptional album recorded in Radio Kraków "Dedicated To Jerzy Wójcik", honouring the memory of Poland's first bluegrass musician. Songs from the repertoire of Little Ole Opry, Wójcik's band, were recorded in new versions by Kraków Street Band with Krystyna Święcicka-Wójcik and guests.
In the annual survey of Poland most renowned blues magazine "Twój Blues" Kraków Street Band won "Discovery of the year" 2014 and "Band of the year" 2015. They have played in international festivals like Haizetara (Spain), Uldum Street Music Festival (Denmark), Eutin Bluesfest (Germany), Veszprémi Utcazene (Hungary), Ferrara Buskers Festival (Italy), Sziget (Hungary), Jazzfest Gronau (Germany) or Viz, Zene, Virag Fesztival (Hungary).
Łukasz Wiśniewski, vocal, harmonica, ukulele
Piotr Grząślewicz, banjo
Tomek Kruk, dobro guitar
Adam Partyka, drums
Szymon Klekowicki, trombone
Wojtek Szela, trumpet
Miłosz Skwirut, double bass
Tomasz Drabik, saxophone
Marcin Hilarowicz, guitar
Born and raised in the deep south of Portugal, Vítor Bacalhau has dedicated his whole life to playing music. He is now fronting his own power trio, and has ahead of him a promising career as a Blues/Rock singer, guitarist and songwriter.
In the last few years Vítor has released an EP and two full length albums, to great critical acclaim, from the press, audiences and his music peers. As a hard working full time musician he’s had a busy schedule touring, both in Portugal and abroad, playing in front of all sorts of audiences, from Blues fests, to clubs, always delivering passionate performances. Influences come from everywhere – from the early Blues of the delta, to big & loud Rock ‘n Roll – and are all channelled into the group’s music in a new and refreshing way. Deep grooves, killer playing and moving power is what you can expect from the group’s music!
bluesmagazine.nl - “A real asset to the European blues scene.”
bluesrockreview.com - “Vitor Bacalhau is a blues artist to the T.”
Vítor Bacalhau - Guitar and Vocals
Luís Trindade - Bass and Backing Vocals
João Ventura – Drums
Raw, strong and bold – these are the words that characterize the Romanian-Serbian trio, with roots in a little Serbian town, named Kladovo, situated at the shore of the Danube, but whose soul wanders around the American grounds, where the blues was born. Although the influences are obvious, AXiS gives the meaning of blues a new perspective – somehow like a wolf in sheep's clothing – that gives the trio an unique flair on the current Romanian music market.
The band recorded its first album around fall 2016 in a Boehme studio located in Belgrade’s suburbs. Being recorded live, with only small retouches, the band’s debut album is designed to express the primordial, scorching and direct sound that takes birth when the band members put their imagination together.
Silviu Dan Iliescu - guitar/vocals;
Dejan Kotarcic - bass;
Ranko Varga - drums;
Kiero Grande from Slovakia formed back in 2006 under a different name and after minor changes in 2013 it evolved to be the band it is today. Their style ranges from sixties style electric blues to a more psychedelic, or let´s say progressive twist on the genre. The bands influences include Hendrix, Johnny Winter or Kamchatka from Sweden, just to name a few but they also like to add little hints from different ethnic musical styles. “Unorthodox” is the name of their first full-length self-released album from 2016. The name reflects the bands attitude towards blues, while still respecting the roots. Have a taste and testify!
Adrian “Ady” Kelemen, guitar/vocals
Róbert Gajdošík, bass
Vojtech Száraz, drums
Johnny Big Stone & The Blues Workers
Johnny Big Stone & the Blues Workers is a trio of blues at its finest. Combining west coast, jump blues, and traditional blues, this band and its varied repertoire create an authentic blues experience.
"Jumpin & Dodgin" is the first album with eleven own composition songs recorded in 2013. In spring 2015 they present the cool "Move On" an album with thirteen tracks, nine of them own compositions. In 2016 they released their third album "Juke Joint Sessions Vol.1", a collection of old blues jewels with touches of west coast jazz and swing where, unlike to the two previous albums, they did versions of great musicians like Ray Charles, Tiny Grimes, Howlin’ Wolf, Bill Doggett and T-Bone Walker. This compilation of nine songs was recorded in June 2016 in a rehearsal room with just two mics and two tracks revox, to recreate the real 50’s sound.
Johnny "Big Stone", guitar, vocals
Little Jordi, upright bass, harmonica
Reginald Vilardell, drums
Julia & The Basement Tapes
Julia & The Basement Tapes is an award winning young and innovative Swedish blues band. Since 2013 they’ve made a success with their unique sound and hungry attitude.
In late 2015 they released their second EP ”The Dues” and following year the acoustic version of the EP. In the fall of 2017 the band entered in the prestigious competition “Swedish Blues Challenge” and won first price. The band is currently doing shows all around Europe and are working on the recordings of their first full length album.
Julia-Lotta Tinglöf, - vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion
Johan Borgh - guitar, backing vocals
Richard Hamilton - keyboard, backing vocals
Samuel Söderberg - bass, backing vocals
Johannes Sidenqvist - drums, backing vocals
Amaury Faivre Duo
Amaury Faivre Duo is a folk-blues acoustic band and the ten years old musical complicity of Amaury Faivre and Yves Staubitz. Amaury Faivre is a singer, a guitarist, and, above all, a brilliant harmonica player. Yves Staubitz, very powerful and precise guitar player, handles both groove and harmony by himself, offering Amaury the freedom to fly above it.
At a crossroads between jazz, folk and pop, their blues inspired music is very sensitive and intimate. They play with a real acoustic and sincere feel, in the lead of Keb’ Mo or John Mayer. Remarkable improvisers, they are simultaneously the blues emotion, the jazz freedom and the punk energy.
Amaury Faivre, vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar
Yves Staubitz, acoustic guitar
What’s the meaning of LaVendore Rogue? The answer is simple… no one knows. However, this bunch of Rogues has made a name and general nuisance of themselves since 2013 during which time, audiences have grown to love (or hate) their raucous blend of Blues inspired Rock 'n Roll.
Consisting of JoJo Burgess on vocals, Joel Fisk on guitar and Stephen “Cupsey” Cutmore on drums; who’ve played together for over 10 years. The band is complemented by Warren Lynn on Hammond Organ, and James Payze on bass.
Following their 2013 debut EP, "What's The Meaning Of LaVendore Rogue?", 2015’s full length studio album "Light Up With" was released, and the band are currently touring their 2017 release; the raw live album "A Night in The North". Whatever happens next, watch out and expect attitude, swagger and downright depravity wherever these Rogues go!
JoJo Burgess - vocals
Joel Fisk - guitar/vocals
James Payze - bass/vocals
Warren Lynn - keyboards
Stephen "Cupsey" Cutmore - drums
BANDS PERFORMING ORDER
The 2018 EBC playing order has been determined by raffle at the latest board meeting in Brussels:
Friday 16 March:
5. United Kingdom
Saturday 17 March:
7. Czech Republic
The distinguished Awarding Festivals like Hondarribia Blues Festival - Spain (July), Swing Wespelaar - Belgium (August), Blues In Hell - Norway (September) or Blues Heaven Festival - Denmark (November)… will recognize the winners by booking them for their festivals.
Raising funds to contribute towards the costs of LaVendore Rogue representing the UK at the 2018 International and European Blues Challenges
LaVendore Rogue will be representing the UK when they join more than 250 other acts from all over the world at the 34th International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, USA organised by the Blues Foundation between 16th and 20th January 2018.
They will also compete in the 8th European Blues Challenge (EBC) in Hell, Norway organised by the European Blues Union on 15th, 16th and 17th March 2018 in which 21 bands from across Europe will take part.
As part of UKBlues’ mission to support the Blues in the UK we have set up a crowd funding campaign to raise funds towards the considerable costs which will be incurred by the LaVendore Rogue representing the UK at the 2018 IBC & EBC.
As well as providing financial support to LaVendore Rogue the crowd funding page also offers a huge range of rewards which you can get in return for your pledge.
So don't delay, visit the crowd funding page today!
WINNERS OF THE 4th UKBLUES CHALLENGE 2017 ANNOUNCED
Photo courtesy Ashwyn Smyth
All other photos courtesy Alan White (Earlyblues.com)
The 4th UK Blues Challenge took place on Sunday 10th September 2017 at the iconic Cavern Club in Liverpool organized by the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues). At stake for the five contestants was the opportunity to represent the UK at the 34th International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis in the USA in January 2018 and at the 8th European Blues Challenge (EBC) in Hell, Norway in March 2018. The UK’s representative in 2017 was the Kaz Hawkins Band who came home the winners of the EBC.
Four of the five bands participating in the Challenge were selected by a panel of more than 250 people involved in and with the blues in the UK whilst the fifth band was selected by the Jessica Foxley Unsigned Project from amongst the eight bands that appeared under their banner at the Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival, Colne last month (August) The five bands came from across the UK and demonstrated the breadth, variety, quality and individuality that exists in the blues in the UK. In order of appearance, the bands were:
The Robert J Hunter Band
Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion
Each band delivered an exciting and varied thirty minute set featuring mainly original music which demonstrated how broad a church the blues is in the UK, much to the delight of the large audience at the event. Deciding upon a winner was a tough job for the panel of six judges drawn from across the blues spectrum and including a number of musicians, festival/venue organizers and members of UKBlues’ Board. The judges were, in alphabetical order, Connie Lush, Chris Powers, Kaz Hawkins, Nick Westgarth, Rosy Greer and Victor Brox.
In an incredibly close vote LaVendore Rogue were declared the winners and, in addition to representing the UK at the International and European Blues Challenges and the massive exposure this will offer, the band will also be offered the opportunity to play at a number of top blues festivals/events during 2018.
Last year’s UK Blues Challenge winner and UKBlues Board member Kaz Hawkins presented a somewhat stunned LaVendore Rogue with the winner’s trophy and certificate.
As an added treat, after the winners had played a brief ‘victory’ set, they were joined on stage by Connie, Kaz, Kyla and Victor for a jam which was truly unique and very special.
Joel Fisk of LaVendore Rogue said after the Challenge: "We're delighted to have won the 2017 UK Blues Challenge. After many years of hard work we're thrilled that our take on The Blues is being recognised. We're really excited to see where this opportunity will take us. Our thanks go to UKBlues for organizing this excellent event."
In addition to the Kaz Hawkins Band, previous UK representatives at the EBC have included Red Butler, Laurence Jones, BabaJack and Ben Poole.
Ashwyn Smyth, Chair of UKBlues said: ‘This was the third UK Blues Challenge that we have organized and, from the feedback we have received, it was definitely the best!
Certainly holding it at such an iconic venue made it even more special and UKBlues would like to thank everybody at the Cavern Club for their support and assistance which served to ensure a great event. Particular thanks to Ricky Cheung, the sound engineer who did a superb job. We were delighted to be bringing the blues back to the Cavern 60 years on as they celebrate their 60th anniversary.
Our thanks also go to the bands who took part and very much entered into the spirit of the event. It was great to see them sharing a single ‘band room’ and encouraging each other, swapping ideas etc. Our six judges had an unenviable task choosing a winner and did a fantastic and very difficult job for which we thank them most sincerely.
We would also like to thank our sponsors whose financial support of the Challenge took away some of the concerns about covering the costs of the event and enabled us to give the participating bands a contribution towards their costs. This year we received sponsorship from Proper Records, BiGiAm Promotions & Management, Bluesdoodles, Digital Blues, EarlyBlues.com, Lancashire Blues Archive and Raven & Blues.
It is clear that those who attended this year’s Challenge thoroughly enjoyed the very fine musicians who played for them and being at such an excellent venue. This was another big step forward as we look to establish the UK Blues Challenge as an event that we hope will become one of the must attend events of the blues’ year.
This was a night that celebrated the best in UK blues and demonstrated only too clearly the quality and range of the talent that is all too often unsung in this frequently ignored musical genre. The event also raised funds which we, UKBlues, can use both to further our aims and to make a contribution towards the not inconsiderable costs that LaVendore Rogue will incur attending the two Challenges.’
UKBlues will be setting up a crowd funding page soon to raise additional funds to help the LaVendore Rogue attend both the European and International Blues Challenges. Details will be available shortly.
Our event sponsors:
We also count on you for your support of UKBlues in what it is doing and ask you to do your bit by spreading the word to your friends and colleagues. Do check out the benefits of membership and see why it is a great idea to join!
See our Membership page for details of more membership discounts etc.
For more photos of all contestants and special guests click here
With the 4th UK Blues Challenge less than two weeks away and to seek to answer questions being posed, we would like, once again, to explain what it is all about, how the contestants are selected, and what it all means for the winners.
What is the UK Blues Challenge (UKBC)?
An annual event organised by the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) at a different location in the UK at which a number of bands/acts compete in front of a panel of judges drawn from across the blues spectrum.
The winning band/act is invited to represent the UK at the following year’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis and European Blues Challenge (EBC) which is held in a different European country each year.
We are very pleased that this year’s event will take place at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool on Sunday 10th September 2017 starting at 16.00. More details can be found at www.cavernclub.org and www.ukblues.org UKBlues is excited to be bringing the blues back to the Cavern sixty years on!
How are the contestants in the UKBC chosen?
As an Active Member of the EBU meeting the EBU’s laid down criteria (see EBC rules here) and the sole UK Affiliate of the Blues Foundation, (see IBC rules here) UKBlues are honoured to be invited to create and manage the selection process to choose the band or artist who will represent the UK at these prestigious events each year.
The first stage of the process this year saw a panel of more than 250 people from across the blues spectrum in the UK which included the membership of UKBlues, all UK based Active Members of the EBU, members of the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association, festival and gig promoters, writers (both online and print media), musicians, fans and blues supporters etc. being invited to submit the three UK acts that they felt would best represent the UK at the EBC and IBC.
Members of this panel were asked to place their choices in order (first, second, third) and points were awarded according to the position in which the acts were placed by the panel members.
The 4 top scoring available acts after this process was complete were invited to participate in the UKBC where the contestants will perform in front of a panel of judges who will use the same criteria to award points to the contestants as are used at the EBC and IBC.
In a new departure this year, a fifth band was invited to participate which was selected from the 8 bands invited by Jessica Foxley Unsigned to play at the Great British Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Festival which took place in Colne over the August Bank Holiday weekend – These bands are, generally, under the radar and being selected to play at Colne is a big step up for them.
The band was chosen by a panel of representatives of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned project and was chosen on the strength of their performance at Colne.
The winner of the UKBC will be invited to represent the UK at both the 2018 EBC and IBC.
What are the selection and judging criteria?
When making their selections, the members of the panel are asked to bear in mind the following EBC rules which apply:
- The leader of the band must have the nationality of the country he/she represents.
- At least 50% of the members of the contestant bands must reside in the country they represent.
- Acts who participated in a previous edition of the EBC, but did not win, may compete again after a period of 3 years.
- Bands of which half or more of the musicians participated in a previous EBC with another band, may compete again after a period of 3 years.
- Bands of which less than half of the musicians participated in a previous EBC with another band, may compete again after a period of 2 years.
Contestants at the UKBC, EBC and IBC are expected to perform at least 50% original music in their set and they are awarded points using the following criteria as laid down by the EBU:
- Instrumental talent
- Vocal talent
- Stage presence
- Blues content
This process is the same as that which has been used in previous years and is approved by the Blues Foundation and the European Blues Union.
A selection panel created by UKBlues formed of nearly 200 musicians, writers, promoters, venues, festivals, radio presenters, PR/promotions, agents, record labels, and fans, including all UK Active Members of the European Blues Union (EBU) and representatives of the UK’s previous European Blues Challenge (EBC) contestants has chosen four artists to compete in the latest UK Blues Challenge.
The top four acts available to compete have been invited to take part in the UK Blues Challenge, which is being jointly promoted by EBU Active Member Pete Feenstra and UKBlues and which will take place on Saturday 24th October 2015 at the Boom Boom Club in Sutton in front of a panel of judges drawn from within the blues community chosen by UKBlues and Pete Feenstra, but who, for obvious reasons, will remain confidential until after the Challenge. They will use the same criteria to award points to the contestants as is used at the EBC.
The acts in order of appearance on the 24th are:
19.45 – 20.15 – Katie Bradley
20.30 – 21.00 – Malaya Blue
21.15 – 21.45 – Brothers Groove
22.00 – 22.30 – Red Butler
UKBlues congratulates the acts on their selection to take part in the UK Blues Challenge.
The winner of the UK Blues Challenge will represent the UK at the 6th European Blues Challenge, organised by the EBU, and which will take place in Torrita di Siena, Italy on 7-8-9th April 2016.
For more details about the UK Blues Challenge and how you can pre-book your tickets visit Pete Feenstra's site or call +44 (0) 20 8791 9078