This page is the archive for our work on the UK Blues Challenge prior to December 2018.
Please click here for the latest UK Blues Challenge information.
35th International Blues Challenge, January 22 - 26, 2019, Memphis, TN, USA
Blues Foundation plans are underway for an exciting 35th International Blues Challenge! Visit their website to purchase IBC Passes and upgrades along with official 2019 IBC merchandise, and plan your week by checking their event schedule.
9th European Blues Challenge, Punta Delgada, Azores, Portugal 5-6 April 2019 - Performing Artists
Somerset Barnard Band
Delta Blues crosses in a scabby way with the Tex-Mex-Aussie-roots of a reckless globetrotter. Somerset Barnard was touring through Australia and the USA before he decided to throw everything away and travel the world.
Somerset can be found playing anywhere from the streets of a Senegalese Village to the stage of an International Festival. His musical adventures have even led him to a play a part in a Bollywood Movie and work as a Sherpa in the Himalayas.
Since 2 years, he is now based in Vienna. His last album ‘The Atlas Moth’, released in February 2016, brings together influences from his four years of travelling. The exciting new album ‘Trains & Churches’ was recorded in January 2018 together with Austria's music greats like Ernst Molden, Marlene Lacherstorfer und Ivo Thomann, all in analog at the Cselley Mühle in Burgenland, Austria.
Somerset Barnard - vocals, guitar
Marlene Lacherstorfer - bass
Ivo Thomann - drums
John Williams - keyboards
Black Cat Biscuit
One day, everything comes together…
Mark (Monday Lovers, Six-pack) and Yasser (Six-Pack) played music together for as long as anyone can remember. Thanks to their daughters, Patrick (Big Mama's Kitchen, Elmore D, Rhythm Bombs) got to know Yasser, his fellow villager, better. Patrick on the other hand was musically linked to Stanley (Dr. Rhythm, Phil Bee & The Buzztones, Love Veins, Rhythm Bombs) and during guest appearances in their shows, Jeffrey (Belgium’s got Talent, Festeyn) turned out to be more than ready for following the drumming footsteps of his father. In 2015 it all came together and the band Black Cat Biscuit was born.
No well-trodden paths or worn out covers with Black Cat Biscuit, but a surprising, sometimes foxy cocktail of fresh songs, marinated in a special gumbo hot sauce, brought by five driven musicians! Black Cat Biscuit plays a conjuring gig that you should not miss, after having seen it, nothing will ever be the same!
Bart 'Yasser' Arnauts: lead vocals, guitar
Patrick ‘P. Daddy Alley’ Indestege: backing vocals, double bass, el. bass, washboard
Jeffrey 'Jr' Gijbels: drums
Stanley Patty: lead guitar
Mark 'Mighty Mark' Sepanski: backing vocals, blues harp
Tomislav Goluban Band
Tomislav Goluban, Croatian blues musician, composer, harmonica player and a singer, is quite unique by his expression. With his passion, sense of humour and catchy appearance, he can really afford your audience an interesting and original show. He's been playing his harp inspired by old school masters like Sonny Terry or Slim Harpo. So far, he has released ten studio albums and won couple of national music awards. His music is combination of old delta, country & Chicago blues mixed with zydeco and world music elements.
Tomislav Goluban: harmonica, vocal
Hrvoje Funda: guitar, backing vocal
Vjekoslav Geček: bass, backing vocal
Krunoslav Zver: keyboards, trumpet
Dragutin Hojsak: drums
Trainman Blues is the brainchild of Irish singer/songwriter Richard Farrell and bass player/producer Laust Nielsen. Winner of the 'Best Blues Album' at this year's Danish music awards and winner of the Danish Blues Challenge, they have steadily gathered steam in the last year and a half. Richard is from a classical background with roots in blues, soul and folk while Laust comes from a blues, reggae and hip-hop background, having been a session bass player in the scene for over 15 years. Combining their strengths, Laust's visions and ear for productions with Richard's melodies and lyrics, makes Trainman Blues such a strong force. Joining them in a live setting are guitarist Joachim Svensmark and drummer Thomas Crawfurd (who features on the album). Joachim is one of Denmark's and Copenhagen's best kept secrets, a child prodigy, he was accompanied by his father to jams at the local Blue club Mojo's from the age of 14. He plays his own solo music and recently he has been playing with the likes of Thørbjorn Risager. Thomas is an incredibly musical and thoughtful drummer, creating beautiful layers with the use of different shakers and percussion. He plays with Fried Okra Band and has played with the likes of Gene Taylor.
Richard Farrell - Vocals/Guitar
Laust Nielsen - Bass Guitar
Joachim Svensmark - Guitar
Thomas Crawfurd – Drums
Hilbert’s Problems is a blues-rock band from Tallinn, Estonia. Five members of the band are united together with love for old-school blues and rock music. The passion for creating and performing together has kept the band in scene since 2014. Hilbert's Problems play their own songs, aiming to offer listeners a variety of music from mellow blues to passionate rock!
Siim Türnpuu, vocals
Indrek Paavo, guitar
Ivo Lõiv, guitar
Tanel Assmann, bass
Joonas Peensalu, drums
Jo’ Buddy & Down Home King III feat. Nieminen
Finnish singer-songwriter-guitarist Jo' Buddy celebrates his 37th year on the road and brings to EBC 2019 his trio line up, his long time drummer wizard Down Home King III and the great Sami "Cantor" Nieminen on the Hammond organ completing the jubilee.
They deliver an exceptional Soul'N'Roll Gumbo that has been cooked with all natural ingredients like blues, rhythm & blues, gospel and rock'n'roll.
Years on the road have honed them into a world-class combo with soulful expression and irresistibly greasy grooves. Be ready for this uplifting experience!
Jo' Buddy: Lead vocals, Electric guitar
Sami "Cantor" Nieminen: Hammond organ, backing vocals
Down Home King III: Drums, backing vocals
Elise & The Sugar Sweets
Elise and The Sugarsweets is a merge of a young talented woman, Elise, and of a strong French Blues Band, The Sugarsweets. Elise and The Sugarsweets join in the musical vein of Blues & Soul and propose a set list organized around original and cover songs. It originality rests on the "organic" sound which emerge from this band, but also the freshness, the energy and the sensibility of its young artist singer, Elise. Elise and The Sugarsweets is the Blues & Soul musical vein!
Blues, Soul, Rhythm and Blues… We could review all the influences of the group.
Here, there are no labels, the music above all! The originality rests on the "organic" sound which gets free of this band but also the freshness and the sensibility of her young singer.
With only a double decade, Elise’s voice and feeling make her one of the most charming singers of the current scene. Artist with multiple influences, she delivers during every gig a mesmerizing and communicative energy.
The Sugar Sweets is a robust combo formed by the guitarist Olivier Raymond, accompanied by his two accomplices, Jérôme and Olivier Ferrie, bass and drum. This trio explored for more than 10 years the French, European and international scenes (stages), from Memphis to Juvisy-sur-Orge, from Riga to Bourg-la-Reine. They are joined in this adventure by Bala Pradal pianist and organist recognized in Rhythm & Blues and the Soul music to make roar out the Hammond organ.
Elise and The Sugar Sweets, it is a clashing cocktail of Blues, Soul and Rhythm & Blues. Uh! For labels it is missed …
Elisa Heyte - Lead Vocals
Olivier Raymond - Guitar & backing vocals
Bala Pradal - Hammond Organ
Olivier Ferrier - Drums
Jérôme Ferrier – Bass
Richie Arndt & Band
Richie Arndt’s big passion is the blues and American roots music. The guitarist, singer and songwriter is to be known all over the place in the German music scene. For four decades he has played with band and solo in the clubs and at festivals all over Europe, has meanwhile published 16 albums and is definitely not a youngster anymore, but an old-stager in the local blues-scene. Amongst others, his experience, talent and presence on stage brought him the honour of “Best Contemporary Blues Artist 2015” and he has been awarded at the “German Blues Award” 2016 (best album) and 2018 (best vocals/male). The newly formed Richie Arndt Band with Sascha Oeing on bass & Peter Weissbarth on drums will represent Germany at the “International Blues Challenge” in Memphis in 2019 and at the “European Blues Challenge” on the Azores 2019. A great honour for this German bluesman from East Westphalia
Richie Arndt - guitar / vocals
Sascha Oeing - bass / backing vocals
Peter Weissbarth - drums / backing vocals
Tine Vonhoegen - backing vocals
Sakis Dovolis Power Trio
Sakis Dovolis is a blues/rock guitar player, singer and songwriter from Greece. Undoubtedly, his name belongs to the list with the best Blues/Rock guitarists in the Balkans. On 2013, Sakis formed his “solo artist’ project named “SD Power Trio”. Combining the fundamentals of Blues with a more aggressive and modern sound, the band is often referred as a heavy blues/rock band. He is also known for their powerful shows and high energy stage appearance, elements that keep the audiences fully satisfied. Sakis was recently signed by the American Recording Label Grooveyard Records NY, and his debut album "Cross The Line" is coming out worldwide on November 23rd
Sakis Dovolis - Guitar, Vocals
Fotis Dovolis - Bass, Back Vocals
Nick Kalivas - Drums, Back Vocals
György Ferenczi and The Rackajam
A Hungarian professional group playing a shockingly interesting fusion of 21st century urban folk music and traditional genres. An indefinite blend of Rock n' Roll, Soul, Blues and of course the band is showcasing many alternatives and remarkable own renditions of their native music.
Rackajam is among the most popular and looked-after acts on the Hungarian and Eastern European scene today! The founder of the band is György Ferenczi whose diatonic harmonica (blues-harp) sound is highly acclaimed across Europe and his instantly recognizable sound and pure style makes every performance a one-of-a-kind experience!
The band's multi-instrumentalists play mostly acoustic instruments, and while respecting tradition they are easily express and reinvent either in the moment or putting hundreds of hours of work to create albums through laying new national standards for Modern Acoustic music!
György Ferenczi, harmonica, violin, vocals
Ádám Apáti, Wurlitzer electronic piano, bass guitar, vocals
Zsolt Pintér, mandolin, vocals
Gábor Bizják, Wurlitzer electronic piano, french horn, vocals
Miklós Jankó, cajon, vocals
Blues and nature addicted, The Drive link the north and the south side of Italy thanks to the fusion of two well- known italian duos: “Angela Esmeralda & Sebastiano Lillo” and “PoorBoys” who play all over from festivals to small clubs, combining passion, energies and skills. They have played together since 2016 and found fertile ground in classics, influenced and inspired by a background full of delta blues, roots, rock and gospel music. Powerful and mesmerizing, The Drive can dig deep and at times they cross genre boundaries
Angela Esmeralda: Vocals
Ste Barigazzi: Vocals, Electric Guitar
Sebastiano Lillo: Electric Guitar
Enry Zanni: Drums
Heavy Petrol was born in 2011 and when Dan Juchem and Steve Richer decided to join the band and after having played blues covers for a few years, they started composing their own songs with their own lyrics.
For the last 7 years, Heavy Petrol has gained a certain reputation in Luxembourg and participated in major Luxembourg Blues festivals such as "Blues Express" and "Blues and Jazz Rallye". They have played for great artists such as Brother Dedge, Ana Popovic, Junior Mack and many others.
They recorded their album "Petrol Train" in 2017.
The sound of Heavy Petrol has been influenced by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter or Joe Bonamassa.
Daniel Juchem (drums)
Daniel Kries (bass)
Gigi Felten (guitar)
Steve Richer (guitar)
Elise Nunes (vocals)
The Dynamite Blues Band
The Dynamite Blues Band from The Netherlands will take you on a journey with their raw blues and exuberant live performance. The musicians have played together for over 10 years, so get ready for some great chemistry. Their blues is influenced by Texas and Chicago as well as the more swinging West Coast Blues. They play almost exclusively original songs with the occasional obscure cover from favorites like Sean Costello, Nick Curran or The Red Devils. They’ve released two albums with outstanding reviews, but you really have to see the band live for the real Dynamite-experience!
Wesley van Werkhoven - Bluesharp and singer
Jacob Jan van Duijn - Guitar
Renzo van Leeuwen - Bass
Jan Aandewiel - Drums
Geir Bertheussen Blues Express
Geir Bertheussen Blues Express is a hard working blues band from the northern parts of Norway. The band performs original songs and covers in the Chicago blues tradition, mixed with some boogie and good old rock n´ roll. The frontman, singer and harmonica player Bertheussen is a true bluesman, who has been into the traditional blues for three decades. He has explored the roots during his visits to Mississippi and the US, where also the band can look back on several recordings and juke joint gigs.
Geir Bertheussen is celebrating a 30 year anniversary as a recording and performing artist in 2018. His band, Blues Express, features Kai-Sverre “Sugar Kay” Fjellberg on guitars, Trond Hansen on the bass, and Kåre “Lefty” Amundsen on drums. In the EBC the line-up will also include keyboard player Rune Karlsen.
Geir Bertheussen: vocal/harmonica
Kai-Sverre Fjellberg: guitar/vocal
Rune Karlsen: keys
Trond Hansen: bass
Kaare Amundsen: drums
The Smooth Gentlemen
The Smooth Gentlemen are three veteran musicians from the Polish music scene. Their music is a blend of Blues and Soul. Sometimes smooth sometimes explosive, but always energetic! The band consists of Bartek Szopinski, (acclaimed pianist, Hammond organist, composer, 11 times winner of “Pianist of the year” statuette awarded in the “Blues TOP” survey), Milosz Szulkowski - drums, and Piotr Bienkiewicz - guitar. This combination of musicians is an exciting new band with lots of depth and experience.
Bartek Szopinski, piano, Hammond
Piotr Bienkiewicz, guitar
Milosz Szulkowski, drums
Delta Blues Riders
Delta Blues Rides are from Oporto and with a truly appealing repertoire, these four musicians reinvent the sonorities that originated the blues (Mississippi) until today, where the constant dialogues between guitar, piano, harmonica and resonator, allied to a strong interaction with the public, make them one of the finest and most complete Blues bands in Portugal, gathering a complete set of Blues traditional instruments: Harp, Piano, Resonator Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass and Double Bass, Drums; ... all in a band with just 4 members!
Considered to be some of the best blues musicians in Portugal, they have played with major international names such as: Pat "Mother Blues" Cohen (New Orleans), Diunna Greenleaf (Texas), Slam Allen (New York), Connie Lush (Uk), Zakiya Hooker (daughter of John Lee Hooker) and Mable John (Ray Charles singer).
Paulo Veloso: lead vocals, piano, acoutic guitar, resonator guitar
Jorge Loura: electric guitar
Ricardo Melo: bass
Miguel Pardal: drums
Rares Totu’s Midnight Sun
Rares Totu and Cosmin Farcas may work together since 2006 but the story between drummer Adi Tetrade and Rares goes way back to the 80s. Elected Guitar Player of the Year in Romania in 1987 and Best New Guitarist in Hungary in 1992, Rares Totu had always a foot in the blues no matter which way the stylistic winds blew. Along with Adrian Tetrade, one of the most respected musicians in the country, the band is completed by seasoned bass player Alin Neagoe from Tetrade's own pop outfit "The Humans" and long time collaborator Cosmin Farcas on keyboards. Singer Aminda Nomade is one of the best voices around and a captivating front figure.
Aminda Nomade - vocals
Rares Totu - guitar
Cosmin Farcas- keys
Alin Neagoe - bass
Adrian Tetrade – drums
Tony Bigmouth Pearson
Tony Bigmouth Pearson (Stefan Uhrinak) is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Slovakia. As a teenager, he spent some time in the USA, the stage name ‘Pearson’ pays homage to his relatives who helped him buy his first electric guitar.
His remarkable originals are greatly influenced by North American blues and acoustic folk and are enhanced by rich baritone vocals. Present day social and political processes are reflected in his lyrics. In many instances he composes musical interpretations of poetry.
In 2017, he was awarded the songwriter's prize for ‘Best Composition’ at the Bratislava Music Competition. In 2018, he won the Slovakian Blues Challenge and is currently touring in Central Europe.
Stefan Uhrinak – guitar and vocals
Big Yuyu was formed in 2006 in Mallorca, Spain, one of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean. Mallorca is not only known for its tourist appeal, which blossomed in the 60’s, but also because of its vibrant live music scene, where the Blues plays a big role.
Since their inception, the band is proud to say that it´s got more than 3000 hot blues nights under its belt, having played in the best clubs and festivals around Spain, and also touring Germany and Holland. This is a band made up by musicians who love what they do every night, making music with soul and passion.
The rock-solid rhythm section formed by Esteve Huguet on drums and Juan Amaro on bass supports Jordi Álvarez´s unique guitar and vocal skills, filling the air with reminiscences of the legends of the Blues, but always with that personal touch that should give Big Yuyu a hard-earned spot in the European Blues Scene!
The band fourth studio album is a new trip back to the roots, however this time with a great wealth of experience acquired on the road, resulting in a sound unlike other bands: unique, personal, powerful… all showcased in a live show that will thrill everyone
Jordi Alvarez, guitar, vocals
Juan Amaro, bass
Esteve Huguet, drums
Marino Valle Band
Marino Valle has for many years been singing old school Rhythm & Blues and Soul with bands such as Big Band Splash, Gugge Hedrenius Big Blues Band and The Soulmates. Marino Valle Band was formed in the spring of 2017. Marino is accompanied by musicians who played with Peps Persson, Sven Zetterberg, Patricia Page & The Prophets and Franska Trion among others. The band offers swinging up-tempo songs and gorgeous soul music in a mix of original material and covers.
Marino Valle - Vocals and harmonica
Mikael Fahleryd - Electric Bass
Magnus Hjorth - Drums
Henrik ”Pilen” Pilquist - Electric Guitar
Arvid Hill - Keyboards
Manu Hartmann & The City Blues Band
Swiss singer Manu Hartmann is well-known in the local Blues scene of Switzerland. With her expressive voice and impressive stage presence, Manu is attracting much attention since some time (performing with Chicago Dave Blues Band; St. Louis Blues Band; etc. amongst others).
In 2013 Manu teams up with French guitarist Claude Groelly (WAAP; Blues Print) and formed the “Manu Hartmann & the City Blues Band“. Manu and Claude did agree at once... a groovy repertoire, distinguished musicians and a rich brass sound are a must. The piece formation is playing modern urban blues enriched with a lot of soul and funk elements. Their own songs are written by Manu and Claude and relate to the style of Etta James or Dalbert Mc Clinton.
Their first studio album will be released in spring 2019.
Manu Hartmann and her City Blues Band are wowing the audience with their dynamic stage performance every time!
Manu Hartmann vocals
Claude Groelly guitar
Stephan Schätti drums
Denis Flaig Bass
Shanky Wyser keys/organ
Christoph Huber trombone
Thierry Kaufmann saxophone
Marko Frank trumpet
Kyla Brox Quartet
Blues and soul become inextricably entwined in Kyla Brox, whose raw talent has seen her described as “the finest British female blues singer of her generation”. From beginning her career as a teenager in her father’s Blues band, to touring all over the world fronting the mighty Kyla Brox Band, and her nominations in the Best Female Vocalist and English Blues Act categories in the UK Blues Awards 2018, Kyla’s star continues to shine more brightly every year. Her band, featuring the subtle, melodic guitar of Paul Farr and the dynamic rhythm section of Danny Blomeley and Mark Warburton, is the perfect setting for her voice to soar. With the release of her critically acclaimed album, ”Throw Away Your Blues”, Kyla sealed her place as the Queen of British Blues.
Kyla Brox, Vocals/flute
Paul Farr, guitar
Danny Blomeley, bass guitar
Mark Warburton, drums
BANDS PERFORMING ORDER
The 2019 EBC playing order was determined by a raffle during the latest board meeting in Amsterdam:
Friday 5 April
Hungary: György Ferenczi and The Rackajam
Portugal: Delta Blues Riders
Belgium: Black Cat Biscuit
Romania: Rares Totu's Midnight Sun
Estonia: Hilbert’s Problems
Poland: The Smooth Gentlemen
Spain: Big Yuyu
Norway: Geir Bertheussen Blues Express
Switzerland: Manu Hartmann & the City Blues Band
Germany: Richie Arndt Band
France: Elise & The Sugar Sweet
Saturday 6 April
Italy: The Drive
Croatia: Tomislav Goluban Band
Denmark: Trainman Blues
United Kingdom: Kyla Brox Quartet
Finland: Jo’ Buddy & Down Home King III feat. Nieminen
Luxembourg: Heavy Petrol
Slovakia: Tony Bigmouth Pearson
Greece: Sakis Dovolis Power Trio
Netherlands: The Dynamite Blues Band
Austria: Somerset Barnard Band
Sweden: Marino Valle Band
5th UKBLUES CHALLENGE - THE WINNER
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.
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.
5th UKBLUES CHALLENGE - LATEST!
The UKBlues Federation is delighted to reveal the fifth contestant who will be taking part in the 5th UKBlues Challenge at Worthing’s Southern Pier on Saturday 8th September 2018.
Carl North & The Lonely Hearts
Chosen by the Jessica Foxley Unsigned Project from the bands who played at the acclaimed Great Rhythm & Blues Festival in Colne over the past weekend, Carl North & the Lonely Hearts formed in 2016 since when they have been busy generating their own kind of buzz within Manchester's live circuit.
In their first year alone, multi-instrumentalist North fronted The Lonely Hearts alongside a number of traditional giants, including Andrew Combs, Gill Landry, Matt Andersen & C.W. Stoneking.
In 2017, following a successful summer of festival appearances which included playing at Glastonbury, the end of the year saw the five-piece release their debut single 'Worst Of You', accompanied by a smash sell-out inaugural headline performance. Plans to perform nationwide are on the horizon with tour and festival dates to be announced.
The raw, country soul of Americana meets foot stompin' Rhythm & Blues.
“A raw and bluesy sound that you scarcely come across these days” - Hooting & Howling Magazine
Writing on Facebook, Paul Foxley of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned Project had this to say:
NORTH GOES SOUTH
Congratulations to all four of our Jessica Foxley Unsigned bands, The Catfish Blues Orchestra, Chris King Robinson, Katy Hurt and Carl North & The Lonely Hearts whose excellent performances at this weekend's Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival proved that the Blues has a very bright future.
The feedback we received from their audiences would make them all blush! It was great to see such diversity of musical style within the context of the Blues. Many thanks to our panel of judges for choosing so well.
As if that was not enough, although our main aim is to provide outstanding opportunities for young musicians to perform at this festival, we also get to nominate one of our bands to take part in this year's UK Blues Challenge.
We are absolutely delighted to announce that our nomination for the 5th UK Blues Challenge is Carl North & The Lonely Hearts.
This six piece, Manchester based band impressed from the very first bars of the first song and maintained great stage presence and musicianship throughout the set. We wish them luck with their performance at Worthing Pier's Southern Pavilion on 8th September.
They will be up against some stiff competition. We should know - three of the other four competitors are bands we have previously showcased through Jessica Foxley Unsigned!
So five great bands playing at the 5th UKBlues Challenge at Worthing Pier's Southern Pavilion on Saturday 8th September 2018. And all for just £15.00 plus booking fee or £17.50 on the door.
If you don't have your tickets yet just click on the poster and this will take you to the SeeTickets page where you can buy them.
There are very few reserved tables remaining so if you want a guaranteed table near the stage, book it now before it is too late!!
We are delighted to be working with the Jessica Foxley folk again and thank them for their support.
GREAT RAFFLE PRIZES
If the chance to see five excellent bands is not enough, we have some superb and totally unique raffle prizes on offer thanks to the generosity of our sponsors FORM Fit-Out and Pablo's Paintings.
More will be revealed soon but here is a hint for the first prize!
We look forward to seeing you there.
Thanks also go to Proper Music Group and Worthing Pier Southern Pavilion without whose support and sponsorship, the Challenge would not be happening.
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