The Atlanta Blues Challenge

Our Annual battle of the best local blues bands

Atlanta Blues Challenge 2021

The Atlanta Blues Society is now taking applications for the 2021 Atlanta Blues Challenge. This competition will decide who will represent us in the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN.  This year’s competition will be as follows:

What:                          Atlanta Blues Challenge
Date:                            Sunday, August 29, 2021
Time:                            1pm-9pm
Place:                           MadLife Stage & Studios
Address:                   8722 Main St. Woodstock, Georgia 30188
Entry Deadline:  11:00pm, August 8, 2021

There are three categories for the challenge acts:  Youth act, Solo/Duo act, and Band act. For the Youth act, all participants must be under the age of 21. While the Youth act is a competition at the Atlanta Challenge, they will not be in competition at the IBC in Memphis, but instead will be in a Youth Showcase which takes place on Friday evening of IBC week. The Youth act will need to take off at least one day from school, and possibly two, to allow for travel time to Memphis.  The Solo/Duo and Band act winners of the Atlanta Blues Challenge must be able to be in Memphis for the entire week of the IBC in order to compete in the various stages of the IBC competition (Quarter finals, Semi Finals, and Finals).  The 2022 Memphis IBC will be January 18-22, 2022.

The IBC competition has changed over the years and has become very competitive, with top notch bands competing from all over the world. Please be aware that if you win the IBC, you will be expected to accept the many gig opportunities that are extended to the winners. These opportunities include the Blues Cruise and various top rated Blues Festivals around the country.  The Memphis IBC is run by the Blues Foundation, which has many rules and regulations that we strictly follow for the Atlanta Blues Challenge.  Those acts from out of state should be aware that the Blues Foundation has a new restriction stating that the representative act should be within a 250-mile radius of the host Blues Society.  Please familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the IBC (found at the link below and attached PDF) before applying so you know what will be expected of you in advance:

IBC Rules and Guidelines For Local Affiliate Challenges

Backline will be provided and all acts will be expected to perform a 25-minute set, which will be timed by a timekeeper. Original songs are encouraged and will increase your chances of winning. Musician sponsors of the ABS get a discount in fees. Musician Sponsorship is $50 ($40 for Youth Act) per year and includes one membership and many promotional benefits.

Fees for the Challenge are as follows:
Youth Act – $60 ($40 for Sponsorship + $20 entry fee)
Solo/Duo Act – $70 ($50 for Sponsorship + $20 entry fee)
Band Act – $75 ($50 for Sponsorship + $25 entry fee)

Prize money for each winning act is as follows:
Band – $750
Solo/Duo – $400
Youth – $300
People’s Choice – $250

Winner of the People’s Choice act will be determined by voting of the paying patrons at the event. All prize winners will be invited to play at the Atlanta Blues Society’s Holiday party in December, where the prize money will be awarded along with any tips raised at the party. Winning acts are encouraged to have at least one other fundraising show.  In addition to the prize money, the Atlanta Blues Society has made arrangements with our sponsor, Midnight Circus Productions, to provide studio time to record a Master recording that can be used to produce CDs (cost of replication not included) which can be sold before, during and after the Memphis event. Midnight Circus will also provide high quality videos of the Challenge performances available to all the acts.

To apply for the Challenge, please contact George Klein at:  He will send you the entry forms and payment information.  All entrants who have paid by the deadline will be in consideration to compete. Because of time limitations we can only have 12 acts total. In the event that we have to limit the number of acts, any act not chosen to compete will be refunded their entry fee.