The Blues Foundation



The Blues Foundation is Memphis-based, but world-renown as THE organization dedicated to preserving our blues music history, celebrating recording and performance excellence, supporting blues education and ensuring the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, The Blues Foundation has 4100 individual members and 200 affiliated local blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events–the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame, International Blues Challenge and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards–make it the international center of blues music. Its HART Fund provides the blues community with medical assistance. Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues scholarships expose new generations to blues music. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the worldwide Blues community with answers, contact information and news.

A twenty-five person Board of Directors governs the Foundation. Funding for The Blues Foundation comes from membership dues, private donations, corporate sponsorships, grants from private foundations, government agencies and arts organizations and merchandise, advertising and event ticket sales. Contributions to The Blues Foundation, including membership dues, are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. The Blues Foundation strives to fulfill its mission via seven programs.



Our Mission is to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of the uniquely American art form.



The Blues Foundation supports many programs including:

The Blues Music Awards (BMAs) – presented annually in 23 categories to the best of the best in blues music as determined by the vote of Blues Foundation members.

The Blues Hall of Fame – The Blues Foundation’s vehicle to acknowledge the legends of blues: individuals, recordings, and literature which have made an indelible mark on the blues genre.

The International Blues Challenge (IBC) – the world’s largest gathering of blues musicians – an annual competition that is the culmination of contests sponsored by The Blues Foundation’s affiliate societies from all around the world.

The Keeping the Blues Alive Awards (KBAs) – presented during the IBC weekend to those behind-the-scenes people and organizations that have proven to be so important to the blues world.

The Handy Artist Relief Trust (HART) Fund  – providing financial aid and health advocacy to musicians and their families in need of assistance

Generation Blues Scholarship Program – offering financial support to qualified applicants under the age of 21 to study their instrument of choice at reputable camps, seminars, and workshop programs.

Blues in the Schools  – supporting music education initiatives by partnering with our Affiliate societies in their local communities and via our comprehensive collection of resources for blues scholars and fans.

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UKBlues Federation

The UKBlues Federation is the sole UK Affiliate of The Blues Foundation and is appointed to operate the selection process for the UK’s representative at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) organised by the Blues Foundation which takes place annually in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.