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Notable blues artists that have competed in the IBC over the years also includes Fiona Boyes, Eden Brent, Michael Burks, Tommy Castro, Sean Costello, Albert Cummings, Døvydas, Larry Garner, Zac Harmon, Homemade Jamz Blues Band, HowellDevine, Richard Johnston, Julian Fauth, Super Chikan, Susan Tedeschi, Southern Avenue, and Watermelon Slim. The 1994 event in particular had a lot of talent as Susan Tedeschi, Michael Burks (who won the Albert King Guitar Award) and a 16 year old Sean Costello competed, although none of them were the eventual winner.
The competition began in 1984, then named the Blues Amateur Talent Contest. The idea was to give amateur or up and coming musicians a chance to be discovered and get a foothold. In 1986 the event was renamed the National Amateur Talent Contest and 17 bands competed. Prior to 1993 the IBC had a rule that performers had to make less than 50% of their income from performing. This rule was dropped that year and the following year the word “Amateur” was dropped from the name of the event. In 1995 the event was renamed “The International Blues Talent Competition” to reflect the expanded demand and over 40 acts competed. No competition was held in 1999 as the timing of the event was changed from the fall during the King Biscuit Festival to the January/February time frame. In January 2000 the first International Blues Challenge was held with 50 bands competing. As the event has grown in size it was decided to split the acts into two categories, Band and Solo/Duo in 2002. Now each year more than 200 acts from around the world gather on Beale Street in Memphis to compete for the International Blues Challenge.
Diunna Greenleaf and her backing band, Blue Mercy, won the competition in 2005. In 2006, the Joey Gilmore Band won the Best Band prize. The winners in 2008 were Trampled Under Foot. The 2010 winner of the top Solo/Duo prize was Matt Andersen. Grady Champion and his band won the Best Band title at the 26th International Blues Challenge in 2010, The 2011 winners of the Solo/Duo category were Georg Schroeter and Marc Breitfelder.
|1984||Reliance||A band from Memphis won the first Blues Amateur Talent Contest|
|1985||Reliance||Reliance repeated as winners|
|1986||Arletta Nightingale||Memphis, Tennessee|
|1987||N/K||(The Blues Foundation website does not list a winner)|
|1988||Larry Garner & the Boogaloo Blues Band||Baton Rouge, Louisiana|
|1989||John Weston||Lee County, Arizona|
|1990||The Dynamics||Bloomington, Indiana|
|1991||The Roach Thompson Band||Miami, Florida|
|1992||Piano Bob & the Snowman (Robert Wilder & Ken Minahan)||Miami, Florida|
|1993||Evil Gal||Boston Blues Society|
|1994||The Hardway Connection||Washington, D.C.|
|1995||The Movers||Boston Blues Society|
|1996||Smilin Vic & the Soul Monkeys||Oklahoma Blues Society|
|1997||Chris Cameron||Fort Smith Blues Society|
|1998||Abe Reid||Piedmont Blues Preservation Society|
|1999||No challenge held||Moved date from King Biscuit Fest to January/February|
|2000||Dave Keyes Band||New York Blues Society|
|2001||Richard Johnston||Beale Street Blues Society|
|2002||Chef Chris & His Nairobi Trio||Canada South Blues Society|
|2003||Delta Moon||Charlotte Blues Society|
|2004||Zac Harmon & the Mid-South Revue||Southern California Blues Society|
|2005||Diunna Greenleaf and The Blue Mercy Band||The Blue Shoe Project|
|2006||Joey Gilmore||South Florida Blues Society|
|2007||Sean Carney Band||Columbus Blues Alliance|
|2008||Trampled Under Foot||Kansas City Blues Society|
|2009||JP Soars & the Red Hots||South Florida Blues Society|
|2010||Grady Champion||Mississippi Delta Blues Society of Indianola|
|2011||Lionel Young Band||Colorado Blues Society|
|2012||The WIRED Band!||Washington Blues Society|
|2013||Selwyn Birchwood||Suncoast Blues Society|
|2014||Mr. Sipp||Vicksburg Blues Society|
|2015||Eddie Cotton||Vicksburg Blues Society|
|2016||The Delgado Brothers||Ventura County Blues Society|
|2017||Dawn Tyler Watson||Montreal Blues Society|
|2018||Keeshae Pratt Band||Houston Blues Society|
|2019||Ms Hy-C and Fresh Start||St. Louis Blues Society|
|2020||HOROJO Trio||Ottawa Blues Society|
In 2002, the Blues Foundation split the challenge into two categories and began awarding a winner in the Solo/Duo category.
|2002||Little Toby Walker||Long Island Blues Society|
|2003||Fiona Boyes||Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society|
|2004||Lightnin' Lee & the Upright Rooster||Spa City Blues Society|
|2005||Jimi Hocking||Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society|
|2006||Eden Brent||Mississippi Delta Blues Society of Indianola|
|2007||Nathan James and Ben Hernandez||Blues Lovers United of San Diego|
|2008||Lionel Young||Colorado Blues Society|
|2009||Little Joe McLerran||Blues Society of Tulsa|
|2010||Matt Andersen||Harvest Jazz & Blues|
|2011||Georg Schroeter & Marc Breitfelder||Baltic Blues Society|
|2012||Ray Bonneville||Ozark Blues Society of Northwest Arkansas|
|2013||Little G Weevil||Atlanta Blues Society|
|2014||Tim Williams||Calgary Blues Music Association|
|2015||Randy McQuay||Cape Fear Blues Society|
|2016||Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons||Washington Blues Society|
|2017||Al Hill||Nashville Blues Society|
|2018||Kevin "B.F." Burt||Central Iowa Blues Society|
|2019||Jon Shain||Triangle Blues Society|
|2020||Hector Anchondo||Blues Society of Omaha|
Best Guitarist winners
|2019||Gabe Stillman||Billtown Blues Society|
|2020||JW-Jones||Ottawa Blues Society|
Best self-produced CD award
|2005||(TIE) Robin Rogers - Crazy, Cryin’ Blues||N/A|
|2005||(TIE) Collard Greens & Gravy - Silver Bird||N/A|
|2006||Roxy Perry - Back in Bluesville||N/A|
|2007||Mighty Lester Band - We are Mighty Lester||N/A|
|2008||Sue Palmer & Her Motel Swing Orchestra - Sophisticated Ladies||N/A|
|2009||Nathan James & Ben Hernandez - Hollerin’||N/A|
|2010||(TIE) The Informants - Crime Scene Queen||Colorado Blues Society|
|2010||(TIE) Laurie Morvan - Fire It Up!||N/A|
|2011||Joe McMurrian - Get Inside This House||Cascade Blues Association|
|2012||Dave Keller - Where I'm Coming From||Rhode Island Rhythm & Blues Preservation Society|
|2013||Steve Hill - Solo Recordings||Montreal Blues Society|
|2014||Hank Mowery - Account To Me||West Michigan Blues Society|
|2015||Altered Five Blues Band - Cryin' Mercy||Grafton Blues Association|
|2016||Rob Lumbard - Blues in a Bottle||Central Iowa Blues Society|
|2017||JW-Jones - High Temperature||Ottawa Blues Society|
|2018||Jontavious Willis - Blue Metamorphosis||Atlanta Blues Society|
|2019||Little Red Rooster Blues Band - Lock Up the Liquor||Central Delaware Blues Society|
|2020||Moonshine Society -Sweet Thing||River City Blues Society (VA)|
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- "2016 International Blues Challenge | The Blues Foundation". Blues.org. 2014-06-20. Archived from the original on 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
- "A Brief History of the International Blues Challenge". makingascene.org. 2014-09-03. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
- "About Jonn 'Del Toro' Richardson - The Texas Bull". Deltoroblues.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- "Joey Gilmore | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
- "The Band | Trampled Under Foot". Tufkc.com. Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- "Grady Champion's "Bootleg Whiskey" a Return to Down Home Southern Soul | American Blues Scene Magazine". Americanbluesscene.com. 2014-09-02. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
- "Georg Schroeter and Marc Breitfelder". Bluestour.de. 2011-05-02. Archived from the original on 2014-11-02. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- "30th International Blues Challenge Winners - Memphis, Tennessee, January 25, 2014". Prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- "BREAKING: International Blues Challenge Winners! | American Blues Scene Magazine". Americanbluesscene.com. 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2015-07-27.