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Road to Memphis Blues Challenge

The Port City Blues Society will host the International Blues Challenge regional competition, The Road to Memphis, on July 22 at 7 p.m. at RJ's Sports Grill & Bar at 128 South Main Street.

For almost 40 years, the Blues Foundation has hosted the International Blues Challenge (IBC) on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Known for being the world’s largest blues competition, the IBC draws more than 200 competitors each year. According to the Blues Foundation, “The International Blues Challenge represents the worldwide search for blues bands and solo/duo blues performers ready for the international stage, yet just needing that extra big break.”


Held each year in January, next year’s competition will be held on January 16 to 20, 2024. The Blues Foundation has more than 200+ blues societies, and each has the right to send a band and solo/duo musician(s) to represent its organization at the IBC. Every affiliated blues society is required to stage a live regional preliminary competition to find a winner to represent them at the IBC.


Here in Pine Bluff, the Port City Blues Society, an affiliate member of The Blues Foundation, seeks to preserve and promote blues music, the culture of Delta blues, and educate the public about the history of the blues in the region. The Port City Blues Society will host the regional competition, The Road to Memphis on July 22 at 7 p.m. at RJ's Sports Grill & Bar, located at 128 South Main Street.


Port City Blues Society also hosts a free weekly blues jam from 8-11 p.m. Wednesdays at RJ's Sports Grill & Bar. The Blues by Budweiser Concert Series also has jam sessions on the first Saturday of each month.


Solo acts, duos, and bands interested in participating in The Road to Memphis must submit an application to the Port City Blues Society by July 7 in order to be eligible to compete in the regional competition on July 22. Applications and regulations are available on the organization's website, www.portcitybluessociety.com.


The Road to Memphis is free to attend. So, come on down to RJ’s Sports Grill & Bar to enjoy the blues competition!




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Written by: Ninfa O. Barnard



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