The Journey To Memphis is the Cascade Blues Association’s regional competition to select the acts that will represent our organization and region in 2021’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Up to 250 acts from around the world converge on Beale Street to perform before the music industry searching for new talent, with the chance to win recognition and prizes that include major festival performances and more. But the only way an act may participate is to win a regional competition held by one of The Blues Foundation’s affiliated societies like the Cascade Blues Association.
The Journey To Memphis competition consists of two rounds. The opening round will be held this year at The East Portland Eagles Lodge, 4904 SE Hawthorne St, scheduled for Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16. The event may take place over more than one night depending on the number of acts wishing to compete. Times will also be determined by the number of entrants. Acts are scored by a trio of judges selected for their backgrounds and knowledge of the blues. The highest scoring acts from each night of competition (up to four acts) will advance to the finals held at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.
The deadline for applications to participate in the competition to be accepted is Wednesday, April 7. No late applications will be accepted. If mailing in your application, it must be postmarked no later than April 6 so we know that it was in fact submitted before the deadline. You may also turn in your application to any CBA board member by April 7.
All acts that meet our criteria as described below will be eligible to compete. The performance schedule for the competition is drawn at random.
Here’s the application information:
- Entry fee is $25.00
- Each act must have at least one person in the band who is a member of the Cascade Blues
- Only acts located within the Oregon and Washington region are allowed to enter the
Journey To Memphis.
- Any act or member of an act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music
Awards from The Blues Foundation are ineligible to compete. No exceptions.
- Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years,
regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year
before being allowed to compete again. Acts can only participate three times in Memphis
(acts competing previous to 2017 receive grandfather status and may compete three times
starting from 2017).
- Along with your $25.00 application fee, send an up-to-date band bio including names of
all members, a 300 dpi photo of the band, full song samples of the band’s music (this
may be used on a radio broadcast to promote the event), and we need to be made aware
of any band member who may be under 21 years of age at the time of the competition so
the venue is aware ahead of time for Oregon or Washington Liquor Commission laws.
- We require that any act that moves forward in the competition must use the same band
members with whom it won previous rounds. In other words, if you won with a certain bass player or drummer at the Waterfront Blues Festival, that bassist and drummer must be in your band to compete in Memphis. Exceptions will made in rare circumstances not under the control of the act, such as health issues.
- We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so
with other societies. All that we ask is that if you win another group’s competition before
ours is held, or if you win ours before theirs, please remove yourself from further
competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.