2018 Iowa Blues Challenge – Call for Entries!

PLEASE NOTE: Because of the limited number of acts registered for the blues challenge statewide, ALL preliminary rounds have been cancelled and all nine acts will compete at the FINALS on September 8 at the Des Moines Social Club.


Are You Ready For the Challenge??

For the 24th year, the Central Iowa Blues Society (CIBS), in association with the Mississippi Valley Blues Society and Southeast Iowa Blues Society, presents the Iowa Blues Challenge (IABC), a multiple-round live music competition in two categories – Band and Solo/Duo – open to all Iowa-based Blues acts.

Preliminary round competitions will be held in Des Moines, Fairfield and Davenport during August, with the winners of each in both categories advancing to the Iowa Blues Challenge Finals on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at the Des Moines Social Club.

  • DAVENPORT BAND & SOLO/DUO PRELIM
    Sunday, August 12 @ River Music Experience
  • FAIRFIELD BAND & SOLO/DUO PRELIM
    Saturday, August 18 @ Depot Brewery
  • DES MOINES SOLO/DUO PRELIM
    Sunday, August 19 @ Zimm’s Food & Spirits
  • DES MOINES BAND PRELIM
    Sunday, August 26 @ Lefty’s Live Music
  • FINALS – BAND AND SOLO/DUO
    Saturday, September 8 @ Des Moines Social Club

Participating acts will be vying for a prize package which includes cash, recording time, opportunities for paid gigs (including, but not limited to the 2019 Winter Blues Fest) and entry into and travel expense stipend for the 2019 International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, Tennessee, presented by the Blues Foundation.

Download 2018 IABC Rules and Sample Ballot (.pdf)

Download 2018 IABC Application (.docx)

Download Blues Foundation Affiliate Challenge Booklet (.pdf)

DEADLINE FOR ACTS TO ENTER IS SATURDAY, JULY 21

Sponsors of the 2018 Iowa Blues Challenge: Budweiser, Exile Brewing, Iowa Public Radio, Junior’s Motel, Rieman Music, VividPix & Design, Des Moines Social Club, Mississippi Valley Blues Society, Southeast Iowa Blues Society and Central Iowa Blues Society.

The 2017 Iowa Blues Challenge Solo/Duo champion, Kevin B.F. Burt, went on to win the 2018 International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo championship, as well as winning the Lee Oskar Harmonica award and the Cigar Box Guitar award.  This was Kevin’s 2nd opportunity to participate in the IBC.  In 1995, he and his band, the Blues Instigators won the Iowa Blues Challenge and represented CIBS in Memphis.  2017 Iowa Blues Challenge Band champion, the Avey Grouws Band, were semifinalists at the IBC.  235 acts from around the world participated in the 2018 International Blues Challenge.

For more information please contact:
Jeff Duskin, Iowa Blues Challenge Chair
(515) 494-6033
jeeff@cibs.org