Annual MBAS Blues Challenge

"Blues Performer of The Year" Solo/Duo & Band Categories


Each year, the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society holds an "MBAS Blues Challenge" in Melbourne, to find the best possible Victorian Blues BAND and Blues SOLO/DUO artists to represent the MBAS and Melbourne at the annual International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis TN, USA.

The prize for the Melbourne Blues Challenge winners includes MBAS-funded ACCOMMODATION and RETURN INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS for two top-scoring acts to travel and represent each competition category at the IBC in Memphis. The IBC draws representative entries from Blues Societies all over the world and throughout the USA.

MBAS Blues Challenge is open to any SOLO/DUO or BAND Blues act meeting the eligibility criteria below:

  • All members of the Blues act must be 18 years old or over.
  • All members of the Blues act must be a permanent resident of Victoria.
  • All members of the Blues act must be or become financial members of the MBAS with the completion of the Entry Form.
  • If the Blues act wins the MBAS Blues Challenge, all the members of the act must all remain financial members up to and after the IBC date (January 2020).
  • A previous winning Blues act of the MBAS Blues Challenge is able to re-enter.
  • Any Blues act who has previously won first place at the IBC (USA) in either SOLO/DUO or BAND category is ineligible to re-enter the MBAS Blues Challenge.

To determine who goes to Memphis to compete at the IBC, Victorian Blues entrants for both SOLO/DUO and BAND categories at the MBAS Blues Challenge compete live in Melbourne in separate Heats to determine a Final lineup. The Heats and Final are scored by independent judges, using the international scoring system devised by the IBC. The highest scoring Blues artist in each SOLO/DUO and BAND category Final are referred to as the "MBAS SOLO/DUO Blues Performer of the Year" and the "MBAS BAND Blues Performer of the Year". Both those top-scoring winning acts from the Final are sent to Memphis by the MBAS to represent and compete at the IBC.

Both winning acts are guaranteed to receive return international airfares, accommodation and and extra $1,000 spending money (for the BAND winner, courtesy of PBS FM) to travel to Memphis USA and compete at the IBC, held in January 2020.

The MBAS also assists both the SOLO/DUO and BAND winning acts by hosting separate major fundraisers to help cover extra travel costs.

Entry for the 2019 MBAS Blues Challenge is now open for both SOLO/DUO and BAND categories.

Entries for both SOLO/DUO and BAND applicants must be received by 9pm Tuesday 2nd July 2019.

The '2019 MBAS Blues Challenge' eligibility, Rules/Conditions and Entry Forms can be viewed and printed from the PDF downloads below:




The MBAS is proud to be recognised as the most successful international Blues Society represented at the prestigious IBC event in Memphis, having produced several winners and runners-up at this international Blues competition over the years:
1995 - IBC WINNER: Geoff Achison - Albert King Guitarist Award
2001 - IBC Runner-Up: Collard Greens & Gravy
2002 - IBC Runner-Up: Andy Cowan - Solo/Duo Division
2003 - IBC WINNER: Fiona Boyes - Solo Duo Division
2005 - IBC WINNER: Jimi Hocking - Solo/Duo Division
2005 - IBC WINNER: Collard Greens & Gravy - Best Album 

Blues Challenge proudly presented by
fp pbsMBAS also acknowledges all its other sponsors for their support of this contest






Contest Winners:


2018 Contest ResultsThe McNamarr Project

Congratulations to all 2018 entrants in the MBAS Blues Challenge BAND and SOLO/DUO categories.

The WINNERS of the finals are the '2018 MBAS Blues Performer of the Year' in their respective categories.

- SOLO/DUO Category: McNaMarr ProjectRhythm X Revival

- BAND Category: Rhythm X Revival

These two talented acts will travel to Memphis USA in January 2019 to represent the MBAS and Melbourne at the International Blues Challenge (IBC).

In addition, 18yo CHARLIE BEDFORD is representing the MBAS in the International Youth Showcase at the IBC this year.

We wish all three acts the very best for success at the IBC in Memphis, andYouth Showcase - Charlie Bedford continuing the MBAS's great reputation for sending world-class Australian Blues talent to represent!





2017 Contest Results

Congratulations to all 2017 entrants in the MBAS Blues Challenge BAND and SOLO/DUO categories.

The WINNERS of the finals are the '2017 MBAS Blues Performer of the Year' in their respective categories.

- SOLO/DUO Category: Bill Barber
- BAND Category: Kelly Auty Band

These talented acts traveled to Memphis in January 2018 to represent the MBAS and Melbourne at the International Blues Challenge (IBC).

BPOY 2017 winner solo duo BillBarber 220

BPOY 2017 winners band KellyAutyBand 220



See list of winners from previous years.