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Sydney Blues Challenge 2024 Updated - Registration

  • 20 Sep 2024
  • 7:00 PM
  • 22 Sep 2024
  • 10:00 PM
  • Butchers Brew, Miss Celie's, Leichhardt Bowlo, The Polish Club
  • 47



Competition Details

Band Heats:

  • Heat 1 Friday 20 September Leichhardt Bowling Club  8 pm start  88-92 Piper St Leichhardt
  • Heat 2  Saturday 21 September Ms Celie's 7 pm Start  15-17 Hercules St, Ashfield

Solo/Duo Heats:

  • Heat 1 Friday 20 September Butchers Brew Start 7:30 pm  499 Marrickville Rd    Dulwich Hill
  • Heat 2 Saturday 21 September Butchers Brew Start 7:30 pm 499 Marrickville Rd Dulwich Hill


  • Sunday 22 September The Polish Club Start 4:00pm 182 Liverpool Rd                   Ashfield 

Solo / Duo Category Prize

  • We can fund $3,500 per competitor. Solo = $3,500, Duo = $7,000

  • The SBS may book accommodation in advance to contain costs

Band Category Prize

  • Bands up to 5 members will receive $3,500 per member.  Beyond 5 the band will receive total $17,500.

  • The SBS may book accommodation in advance to contain costs  

Regional Performers

The Sydney Blues Society (SBS) is committed to supporting regional NSW competitors participating in the heats. Accordingly, we will provide funding of up to $350 per competitor for travel expenses to Sydney, contingent upon the distance travelled. Additionally, we will require verification of the performers' credentials to ensure they meet the required performance standards.

Other Costs

All other associated costs must be met by The Act.    


The aim of the Sydney Blues Challenge is to find the best possible blues Solo/Duo Act and Band to represent the Sydney Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge held January 7 - 11,  2025 on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.


Closing Date

Midnight 10 September 2024


All entries are to be submitted online by midnight 10 September 2024

No application will be accepted after this date. 

As part of your application we require some video of your act performing. 

For any enquiries regarding the Sydney Blues Challenge, 

call Di Ford on 0428 608 119 or email

Challenge Guidelines

The Blues Challenge is open to any Blues act meeting the criteria below:

  • All members of the act must be at least 18 years old or older

  • All members of the Act must be SBS members 

  • At least one act member must reside in NSW

  • A musician cannot compete in the Band Division and the Solo/Duo Division in the same year.

  • A musician cannot compete in more than one band in the Band Division.

The SBS reserve the right to accept or refuse The Act by review of their music. 

The Act will be notified of their eligibility to compete in the Challenge after the closing date.

All members of The Act must stay at the Sydney Blues Challenge for the whole evening.

The members of The Act who perform on the night of the Challenge Final are the performers who will go to Memphis. You cannot substitute players or take different players to Memphis if you win. Disqualification will apply in these circumstances and The Act awarded second place will be appointed as the SBS representative to Memphis.

In extreme circumstances of sickness or duress, the SBS committee will review changes of membership to The Act going to Memphis. The decision of the committee on the matter will be final.

The performance time for each band will be determined by a draw made by the SBS committee prior to the Challenge, no performance times shall be changed after this draw.

Independent judges will judge the Challenge based on the International Blues Challenge Criteria and scores on the night are final.

The Act will have 25 minutes playing time and will lose points if they play over or under this time.

Points will be awarded in five categories: blues content, originality, stage presence, talent, and vocals. 

The Sydney Blues Society Committee has the right to dismiss acts for not complying with the guidelines of the Challenge and for any behaviour before, during or after this contest that brings The SBS into disrepute. 

The Rules are subject to change if the International Blues Challenge rules change.

The winning act must show evidence of acceptance to enter the USA October, or the prize will default to The Act placed second.

The winning act may only represent the SBS at the International Blues Challenge three times. 

If for any unforeseen reason The Act is unable to attend the IBC in the USA all monies including the prize, any additional SBS fundraising, and donations will be returned to the SBS.

What You Have to Do 

Fill out the online form to register and email attaching any photos, digital music, and a bio to be used by SBS for publicity purposes. 

On the night 

The Act needs to supply the judges with a set list (3 copies, one for each judge), stating the name of songs performed and the composer of each song. Please highlight any songs written by present or previous band members. 


The SBS reserves the right to use any contestant's name, voices, pictures, visages, and other likeness for the purpose of advertising, publishing, and promoting the Sydney Blues Challenge.

Entry Fees 

To be eligible to enter the Challenge, Acts are required to be members of the SBS this includes Kings Membership.

Scoring Criteria directly from the IBC website

Blues Content: The sound and feel of the music should be true to any of blues sub-categories: traditional blues, country blues, soul blues, blues rock and/or contemporary blues. Judges will be listening for inspired and original song selections or new takes on blues standards. Creative reach is encouraged.

Originality: Original work is encouraged. Cover tunes are allowed but playing the recorded rendition lick by lick is discouraged, will not be looked upon favourably by the judges and will be reflected in scoring.

Acts must indicate if their songs are their own original material (this can be done at the start of the set or before each song as appropriate) and /or identify the covers that they are playing and acknowledge the originator.

Vocals: The act’s vocal skills to include concepts of tone, musicality, meaning and expression.

Instrumental Talent: Ability level on all instruments featured within the act.

Stage Presence: The ability to command the attention of the audience by the impressiveness of one’s manner and appearance on stage. Judges will consider how an act connects with and engages the audience in the music. Proper use of microphones and amplification will be considered.

Scores are Weighted: To reflect the relative importance of each category 

Blues Content x 4,

Originality x 3

Stage Presence x 2

Instrumental Talent x 2

Vocals x 2.

The total in each category represents the Weighted Score for that category.                                             

Total possible weighted score is 130. 

Penalty Points                                                                                                               

An Act is penalized one point from its Total Weighted Score for each of the following:

  • Each ten seconds that it runs overtime during the performance.

  • Failing to acknowledge that a song is a cover and/or not giving credit to its originator.

  • Finishing 3 or more minutes before its allotted performance time expires.

  • Excessive time loading-in before and/or loading out after performing.

Final Caveat:

The SBS reserves the right to modify, amend, or adjust the competition details, guidelines, and prizes at its discretion to ensure fairness and the smooth operation of the event. Any changes will be communicated promptly to all participants.

Sydney Blues Society Inc.
ABN: 94 132 343 544

Sydney Blues Society
PO Box 197
Newtown, NSW 2042

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