Friday, July 31, 2020

Florida Blues Societies Status Report on 2020 Regional International Blues Challenge (IBC) Competitions

Last updated 7/30/20, 2pm.

Jazz Blues Florida has compiled responses from five of Florida's nine Blues Foundation Affiliate Blues Societies to provide a status report on 2020 Regional IBC Competitions*. These regional competitions are held world-wide to determine who will be a participant in the following year's International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN, hosted by The Blues Foundation.

With Florida having the highest concentration of societies, and The Blues Foundation having only eight affiliates registered for the IBC, this information will be referenced by many societies outside Florida as they make their decisions.

This information will be updated as things change and we are notified by the other societies.

Here is the survey and responses:
Q1: Is your society hosting a 2020 Regional IBC Competition to select a band representative to the 2021 International Blues Challenge in Memphis?
RESPONSES (6 Total):
  BSNWF: "August 8, Seville Quarter, Pensacola, FL, time TBA"
  SWFBS:  "It's our intention to move forward towards our regional IBC. Date, Location, and Contact Info - TBD."

Q2: Is your society hosting a 2020 Regional IBC Competition to select a solo/duo representative to the 2021 International Blues Challenge in Memphis?
RESPONSES (6 Total):

Q3: Has your society given any thought to hosting an online virtual competition in some manner?
RESPONSES (6 Total):
YES: 3
NO: 3
   BSNWF: "Yes, but only if needed.  We currently plan to hold the challenge in Seville Quarter.  We will follow all guidelines suggested by the CDC.  If we have to limit attendance we will be streaming the event live on our Society Facebook page."
   TVBS: "No we are running a relief fund instead."
   SWFBS: Yes, still a consideration."
   SCBS: " We did, and after much discussion, we decided it would not be practical to hold a competition in this manner."

Q4: How many bands/solo-duos have indicated that they would be interested in competing?
RESPONSES (6 Total):
   BSNWF: "Right now we have 4-5 acts interested in the challenge.  If acts in our region are interested they should contact me.  We do have a requirement of being a member of our Society to participate but we will take each entrant into account based on location and situation."
   NCFBS: "We have not polled our membership yet.  We plan to do so sometime after the July 4th Weekend. We think it's too early to ask right now, considering how much unknown there is."
  SWFBS: "Combination of 9 interested acts."
   TVBS: "None."
   SCBS: "We have had no unsolicited interest from any band."
   (OBBS):  "We not gotten any interest."

Q5: With fewer opportunities for paid gigs currently, is funding the expense of your regional winner’s trip to Memphis a concern?
   BSNWF: "We currently have the funding to send both the band and solo/duo winners to Memphis, with more fundraisers to follow to help with additional costs."
   NCFBS:  "Yes.'s too early for us to have gotten there yet."
   SWFBS: "No.  We always help fund the trip  and  this year possibly a cash payout if Memphis is canceled all together.."
   TVBS: "Yes, if we were having a competition."
   SCBS: "Yes, without the ability for the Society or the Bands / Solo / Dus’s to hold fund raising activities, we are uncomfortable with the financial commitment to send two acts to Memphis."
   (OBBS):  "Yes."

Q5a: Have any innovative fundraising ideas been considered?
   SWFBS: Producing a regional IBC video or live stream with paid advertisers (paid video promo spots approx .1 minute in length).  Limited reserve seating/ advance ticketing/ social funding.

General Comments: 
"Even with our current situation we are committed to keeping the Blues alive in Northwest Florida.  We fully plan on hosting our Regional Challenge on August 8, and I am in weekly discussions with Seville Quarter regarding our current pandemic.  We take everyone's health and welfare into consideration, and will proceed with our Regional Challenge following guidelines set forth by the CDC.  If the need arises we will set up a virtual show for our Regional winners to compete in the Memphis IBC in late January/February or whenever the Challenge is held."

   BSNWF UPDATE 7/31/20: "We're still a go for our Blues Challenge, in fact we're having a board meeting today to finalize everything.  We're still having it at Seville Quarter in Pensacola, FL, but due to the COVID restrictions there will be no audience in attendance.  We also will be following at CDC guidelines during our Challenge.  We will be streaming our Challenge live on our Society Facebook page, most likely starting at 2pm CST.  If the Blues Foundation is unable to host the IBC live in Memphis this year we will do what is needed to ensure our winners will be able to compete, whether that is in person or virtually."

   NCFBS:  "The main reasons we have to answer Undetermined, is that: 
   1.We have not heard from the Blues Foundation that there is definitely going to be an International Blues Challenge in Memphis in early 2021.
Once we get a yes to that question, then we are better able to make decisions about a regional competition.
   2. We don't know when our local artists, bands, and fans will be comfortable being in a public crowd of the size that would be necessary to put on a Regional Blues Challenge.  If only 2-3 participants would be comfortable competing or only 30-40 fans would be willing to support the event, then it would be difficult for us to decide that it should be held.
   If we do have a 2020 Regional Blues Challenge, I do think it would have to be held later than we usually do, which is Labor Day Weekend or the week before. We need some major questions asked, and then a reasonable amount of time to promote the event."

   SWFBS:  "We will likely push back the date to accommodate any regional event changes and unknown variables coming down the road."   IBC Committee Members Kent Newman & Jerry Tolliver

   SCBS: "As you a well aware, the current situation with the pandemic has just about shut down our live music scene in the Tampa Bay Area. We have reviewed the new rules and guidelines for the IBC competitions, and have sadly decided that we will not be able to hold a competition this year or send a band to Memphis, if that even happens.... This was a painful decision for us, but under the current circumstances, we feel it is the best one for us this year."

Blues Societies that have submitted responses:
Blues Society of Northwest Florida (BSNWF)
North Central Florida Blues Society (NCFBS)
Orange Blossom Blues Society (OBBS)
Southwest Florida Blues Society (SWFBS)
Suncoast Blues Society (SCBS)
The Villages Blues Society (TVBS)

Blues Societies that have not submitted responses:
South Florida Blues Society
Treasure Coast Blues Society
First Coast Blues Society

**Note* For definition and clarification, International Blues Challenge 2020 Regional Competitions are held in 2020 to determine who will compete in the 37th International Blues Challenge (IBC 2021) that is scheduled to be held Jan. 19 – 23,  2020 in downtown Memphis, TN. More info on the 37th International Blues Challenge (IBC 2021) at  Blues.Org

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