CBC Chicago Blues Challenge!

Chicago Blues Challenge Winners

Band :   Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames

Duet :     Long Tall Deb & Colin John

Youth:    Mud City Blu Band

See our home page for information on the musicians representing the Windy City Blue Society.

Memphis Tennessee

Jan 28 th thru Feb 1 st  2020

Oct 5th 2019 @ The Windy City Blues Fest

Blues Challenge Stage,  Seat Geek Stadium, Bridgeview IL.

The Chicago Blues Challenge (CBC) is a musical competition for Chicago area blues musicians. The winner of this competition represents the Windy City Blues Society in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) every January in the Beale St. Historic District. (Jan 28th – Feb 1st 2020)

International Blues Challenge

 October 5th 2019 @ The Windy City Blues Fest

Blues Challenge Stage, Seat Geek Stadium, Bridgeview IL.

WCBS supports the winning musicians by sponsoring them at the IBC. WCBS will provide a portion of the musician(s) travel expenses to Memphis for the Band and Solo/Duo competitions.



The WCBS will help the winning band in each division get to Memphis to represent us at the International Blues Challenge 2020 (Jan 28th – Feb 1st 2020). If you do well in Memphis, some fame and possible fortune will likely follow. If nothing else, you”ll have a great time in another great blues town.



Solo / Duet

Youth Showcase

OPEN CALL FOR ENTRIES There is a NO entry fee and you must send in both the application form and the parental consent form (see links below).

The 2019 Chicago Blues Challenge Youth Showcase  To Be Determined

APPLICATION FORM NOTE: You must download the form and save it to your computer before you can fill it in.  (P.S. Dont worry about the year on the application…..Just E-Mail the application to windycitybluessociety@gmail.com)


ENTRY FEE: None MORE INFO Send your check to: Don’t send any money yet.   The Windy City Blues Society is not responsible for lost, stolen, damaged or delayed mail.

QUESTIONS? windycitybluessociety@gmail.com


To compete in the annual Chicago Blues Challenge, your band must:

    • be from planet Earth (or musically gifted aliens)
    • commit to go to Memphis to represent the Windy City Blues Society and Chicago at the 36th International Blues Challenge, (Jan 28th – Feb 1st 2020) in the Beale St. Historic District. Tickets available for the IBC in early October.

Performers can:

    • only compete as band leader in one division
    • can be a sideman with more than one band, but the sideman must disclose that they are working with more than one band to each bandleader and the WCBS

IMPORTANT NOTES Winners may NOT compete as the same musical act if they have already won two years in a row. This rule mirrors the Memphis IBC rule. This is a live music competition. Therefore, performers who play to “backing tracks” of recorded music during their live performances will not be considered for competition.

Winners of any division of the any previous Chicago Blues Challenge Finals are eligible to compete in the CBC.

Performers are not eligible if they have ever won or been nominated for a Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Award).

Scoring Guidelines

The Chicago Blues Challenge is a timed and judged event.  Musical acts play 20-minute sets and are scored from 1 – 10 in each of five weighted categories:  (2017 change in weighted scoring)

    • Blues Content (multiplied by 4)


    • Vocal Talent (multiplied by 2)


    • Instrumental Talent (multiplied by 2)


    • Stage Presence (multiplied by 2)


    • Originality (multiplied by 3)


1 – 3 Typical of a beginning blues band

4 – 5 Typical of a local weekend band

6 – 7 Typical of an advanced local band not yet ready to headline major blues club.

8 – 9 Typical of the quality of blues artists who headline major clubs.

10 Typical of bands on the main stage at major blues festivals (such as Chicago or King Biscuit)


2017 Wrap-Up

The Windy City Blues Society went through changes in 2017.  We had a new President and Vice-President.  They wanted to change the name of the Windy City Blues Society and felt it best not to make an entry to the 2017 under the WCBS name.  They chose to make no entry.  Once the new officers discovered that the City of Chicago decided to eliminate the WCBS street stage for this year,  the new officers promptly resigned their position.