Due to COVID-19,
the 2021 Cincy Blues Challenge
has been postponed.
Depending on the International Blues Challenge, we will try to have the Cincy Blues Challenge this fall. Sign up for our email list to stay informed. A signup form is at the bottom of this page.
Sunday, June 7, 2020
12:00 – 9:00pm
Come out to the 2020 Cincy Blues Challenge and hear the best blues bands and the solo/duos in the region compete for an opportunity to represent the Cincinnati Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in January 2021.
- Doors open at 11:30 am
- Music from 12:00 – 9:00 pm
- Winners announced and awards presentation about 9:15 pm
- Food and drink sold at the park
- Coolers and pets are not allowed.
Call 513-739-2583 (739-BLUE) or email email@example.com for more info.
3529 West Kemper Road, midway between Rt. 27 & Rt. 127
Band – any act with three or more musicians. Vocalists are counted as musicians for the purpose of this competition. Both electric and acoustic instruments are allowed
Solo/Duo – any act with one or two musicians. Vocalists are counted as musicians for the purpose of this competition. Both electric and acoustic instruments are allowed.
The Challenge is a one day event. The Cincy Blues Society BITS band will open the show followed by up to 24 acts. We have not had to do this in the past, but in the event we have too many entries the following will be used to reduce the number to 24.
- Any entry that is ineligible to compete in the IBC in Memphis
- Any non Cincy Blues Society member base on the order they were received
- In reverse order entries were received
All entries must be received by third Wednesday of April – 11:59PM ( April 17, 2019)
Mail/Email Application, Biography & Picture to:
Cincy Blues Society
1623 Dalton Avenue 141080
Cincinnati, OH 45250
Att: Blues Challenge
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Bio ( 600 words ) and Picture ( 900 x 600 pixels ) are required as part of the application. Email these to email@example.com. These are also required by the IBC and we will use them in our promotions of the Blues Challenge and the Summer Blues Festival for those invited to perform.
Yes, we could probably write a great bio on you ourselves, but would rather it be in your own words or those of your publicist. What are the strengths of your performance? How long have you been together? How’d everyone meet? What makes your act different and special? Please limit your Bio to 600 words. It’s not necessary to list the artists since those are listed on the first page and will be included in our program.
Entrance Fee (entrance fee include a one year Cincy Blues Society Band membership)
If you need assistance with either the bio or picture, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 513-562-0603.
- No Band or Solo/Duo Performer that enters the Challenge may have been included on a Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Award or Handy Award ballot.
- An act that wins first place in our Blues Challenge will be ineligible to enter the competition the following year in the same category.
- An artist may play in more than one category. In the event that a performer should be in an act that comes in first in both the solo/duo and band category, they will represent us at the IBC with the act in the category that they received the highest final average score. The category with the lower score will be represented by the second place winner.
No other entry restrictions apply. Management contracts, booking agent contracts, recording contracts, and performance contracts (even those that include regular television or radio broadcast) have no bearing on eligibility.
The Cincy Blues Society retains the sole right of discretion for determining the eligibility of an act or musician.
Performance time is limited to 15 minutes. The time starts when the band strikes its first note. Warning cards are held up to the band on stage to inform them that there are 2-minutes, 1-minute, and 30-seconds remaining. They will also see when the time is up. It Is The Act’s Responsibility To Plan Their 15 Minute Performance and Look For The Time Warning Cards. Bands are penalized one point from the combined judges’ scores for each ten seconds that they run overtime. There is no penalty for using less than the allotted time.
An independent panel of judges will be selected to ensure that the decisions will be above-board and indisputable. We recruit professionals in the music industry, such as music critics, club owners, or booking agents to be judges. Several of the judges may be from out of town, to further ensure impartiality. None of the members of the board of the Cincy Blues Society will be judges. If available, five judges will be scoring at all times. All decisions of the judges are final.
We are using the same scoring criteria as the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge. Your act will be judged on:
- Blues Content – EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. After all, this is a Blues contest. Many talented acts have lost the competition because of the lack of Blues content in their performance. Judges have been historically tough on this category.
- Instrumental Talent – This category is judged on the artists’ instrumental skills
- Vocal Talent – This category is judged on the artists’ vocal skill
- Originality – Original work is encouraged. Cover tunes are allowed but playing the original rendition lick by lick will not be looked upon favorably by the judges and will be reflected in scoring
- Stage Presence – Most contestants have performed on stage enough to know that they are not simply playing music but putting on a show. This includes how the band dresses. This category rates how “sellable” a band may be.
To reflect the relative importance of each category in the success of a band, the scoring in each category is weighted before final tabulations. Raw scores for Blues Content are multiplied by 4, both Instrumental Talent and Vocal Talent are multiplied by 3 and Originality and Stage Presence are each multiplied by 2 to give weighted scores in each category. The attached score sheet should demonstrate this clearly.
What the score values represent:
|Score Values||What Scores Represent|
|1 – 3||Typical of a beginning blues band|
|4 – 5||Typical of a local weekend band|
|6 – 7||Typical of an advanced|
|8 -9||Typical of the quality of blues artists who headline major clubs|
|10||Typical of those who play the main stage at major festivals such as Chicago or King Biscuits Blues Festivals|
The weighted scores of all the judges are averaged in each category to determine the final score in that category for the band. The averaged weighted scores are then added together to determine the band’s final judged score. Then, penalty points for time overage are deducted to obtain the final results used in the standings.
Acts are penalized One Point from the combined judges’ scores for each Ten Seconds that they run overtime. Timers will hold up warning cards showing 2 minutes 1 minute, 30 seconds and zero when time is up and it’s the acts’ responsibility to look for the warning cards. There is no penalty for using less than the allotted time.
Acts are penalized One Point from the combined judges’ scores if any performer is seen/heard talking to any judge.
Day of Show Check In:
To ensure proper check-in, acts with all members present, need to check-in with Tom Tiem, Stage Manager, no later than one hour before your performance time. We will conduct an orientation session at that time. Failure for all members to check in at the appropriate time may result in a missed performance opportunity. We usually have at least one cancellation, which moves your playing time up a slot. If you’re not ready at the new start time, you will be disqualified. Please share this information with all members of your act.
Performers’ Receipt of Scoring Information:
After the competition each act will receive a summarized score sheet of their performance within 2-4 weeks after the competition. This will allow each band to see their “raw score” and to see what kind of impression they made on the judges. Acts will not receive their score sheets on the day of the competition.
The Blues Society will provide all backline gear and sound. The setup on stage will include a quality drum kit, guitar and bass amps, keyboard/harmonica amps and microphones. Drummers must bring their own sticks, brass and may bring their own snare if desired. Musicians must include on the application form any additional or special equipment needed. Competitors are urged not to bring their own amps. If you must bring your “lucky” amp, it must be listed on your application and you must tell the stage manager at check-in. The Cincy Blues Society reserves the right to approve or restrict any and all equipment an entrant wishes to bring on stage. No smoking permitted on the stage at anytime.
All personal equipment must be verified by the stage manager and/or sound techs. i.e.Amps, mics (wired or wireless) , etc.
Order of Play:
Competition slots are assigned by random drawing with exceptions allowed where special setup or other circumstances are noted on the Application Form. You will be informed of your time shortly after the April 18th deadline
All set up and tuning is to be done before contest time. A holding area will be provided for tuning up and practicing. No individual sound checks will be done on stage for contestants.All personal equipment must be verified by the sound techs. i.e.Amps, mics (wired or wireless) , etc.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the competition is run fairly and professionally as possible. We expect the same effort from the participants. The winning blues acts will be representing the Blues Society and the Cincinnati Area Blues Community in Memphis. Several professional careers have been launched by a good showing in the Finals. The Blues Society reserves the right to disqualify and/or strip the prizes from any band whose member(s) behave in an unprofessional manner such as excessively contentious behavior, excessive protestation, drunkenness or violence. Determination of unprofessional behavior is solely at the discretion of the Cincy Blues Society.
Refreshments and food will be sold at the event and are the responsibility of the consumer.
Performers plus one guest each, will not be charged admission. By May 4th we will mail your representative 2 tickets for each member of your act – one for the performer and one for their guest. Please use these for your admissions. No one will be admitted by saying that they’re a guest of a band member. We encourage you to invite your fans, friends and family members to attend the Challenge. Tickets at the gate are $15 per person. Cincy Blues Society and Germania Society members get a $5 discount and children under 16 get in free with a paying adult.
We will have a membership table at the entrance. Any new member joining there will get in free – one free admission per any level membership. For a double membership, the 2nd person, if present, will get the member discount. We appreciate your support of our efforts!
Other Points of Consideration:
The Cincy Blues Society reserves the right to videotape or otherwise record all Blues Challenge performances.
If you have performance cd’s for sale, please bring them along and we’ll sell them at our merchandise table. It’s your responsibility to pick up your sales money and unsold merchandise before the end of the night.
Have fun and thanks for keeping the blues alive!
Hi Blues Musicians,
It’s time for the 22nd Annual Cincy Blues Challenge that will take place on Sunday, June 7, 2020 at Germania Park in Colerain, Ohio. Applications must be received by Midnight April 15th 2020 to be eligible. Please be aware that this is a local blues competition and if necessary, local acts from the Cincinnati area will be selected before acts from out of town. We will also consider if an act is a member of the Cincy Blues Society, along with the date when your completed application is received by us, so please send back the required forms promptly. If your act is not selected to compete, your entrance fee will be refunded. After an act is notified that they have been accepted, no refunds will be given. There is maximum of 24 acts (Band and Solo/Duo) plus the Blues In The School Band.
The Blues Challenge will feature competitors in both the BAND and SOLO / DUO categories. The winner of each category will represent the Cincy Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis during the beginning of 2021. Information at www.blues.org tells about the advantages of competing and doing well at the IBC. Musicians may enter our Challenge in more than one category.
The first-place winner of the Cincy Blues Challenge in the Band category that represents the Cincy Blues Society in Memphis will receive a $1,000 stipend to help pay travel costs. The first-place winner of the Cincy Blues Challenge in the Solo / Duo category that represents the Cincy Blues Society in Memphis will receive a $300 stipend to help pay travel costs.
The first place winner in the Band category will be invited to play at the at the 2020 Cincy Blues Fest – to be held July 18, 2020 at Schmidlapp Event Lawn at Smale Riverfront Park. Several of the top bands from the Challenge will be asked to play at the fest, but as of this date, we don’t know how many acts can be scheduled.
To enter the competition, complete the application (available now). It can be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to
Cincy Blues Society
1623 Dalton Avenue 141080
Cincinnati, OH 45250
Att: Blues Challenge
Your picture and bio must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed on a disk to the above address. The entry fee for a band is $50 and $30 for a solo/duo act. Membership to the Cincy Blues Society is included in the entry fee. It should be mailed to the above address. Everything must be received by midnight on April 15th 2020. We cannot accommodate anyone dropping off an entry at any location. Before entering, please read the eligibility requirements and the competition rules. It explains the competition in detail and should answer most of your questions.
If you have further questions or concerns feel free to call us at 513-734-3009. For Staging and Backline questions, please contact our Stage Manager, Tom Thiem at 513-919-3285 or email@example.com.
Thanks for keeping our Blues so alive,
Dave & Alison Petrik
Cincy Blues Challenge Co-Coordinators
Best Self Produced CD
All rules and eligibility are based on The Blues Foundation “Best Self-Produced CD” competition.
Rules for the Cincy Blues Society Best Self-Produced CD Competition.
- The CD must be released during November 1, 2018 – October 31, 2019 time frame.
- The artist must be a current member of the Cincy Blues Society. If you’re not already a member, you can sign up here.
- Compilation CDs are NOT eligible
- If no more than one CD is submitted, it many NOT be from a board member or officer
- A performer who has previously been nominated for a Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Blues Award) shall not be eligible for this competition. A CD issued in the name of an otherwise eligible performer which also includes the contribution of a Blues Music Award nominee may be ineligible, depending on the extent of the contribution. We will consult the Blues Foundation for a final ruling on this rule.
- A CD on a record label that has been previously nominated for a Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Blues Award) shall not be eligible for this competition
- Recordings with established or “known” producers within the industry are eligible as long as the recording is on the artist’s independent label and NOT on an established blues label.
- Singer, band or local producer may produce the actual CD as long as the performer is a singer, band or other individual entity
Judges will evalute the following points
The criteria are in order of importance
- Blues Content ( is this a Blues Music recording )
- Musical Performance (Musicianship)
- Audio Quality of the Presentation ( Production Values, Level )
- Cover Art and Design ( Professional Packaging, Ready for the rack at your favorite music outlet? )
- Credit and Liner Information. ( Informative, Professional )
To reflect the relative importance of each category in the success of a CD, the scoring in each category is weighted before final tabulations. Raw scores for Blues Content are multiplied by 4, both Musical Performance and Audio Quality of the Presentation are multiplied by 3 and Cover Art and Design is multiplied by 2 to give weighted scores in each category. The attached score sheet should demonstrate this clearly.
In the event of a tie, the winners name will be put in hat and the name pulled from the hat will be the winner.
To enter, contact Debby Manning at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange pickup of your CDs.
The deadline is Saturday October 17, 2020.
Note reason for 5 CDs: 1 to be used in the judging and 4 (winning CD) to be sent to the Blues Foundation for judging in the Blues Foundation’s “Best Self-Produced CD” competition. If you would desire your CDs to be returned after the competition, contact us at email@example.com to arrange a time and place to pick them up.