The Atlanta Blues Society is now taking applications for the 2019 Atlanta Blues Challenge. This competition will decide who will represent us in the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN.  This year's competition will be as follows:

Atlanta Blues Challenge
Date: Sunday, August 25, 2019
Time: 1pm-10pm 
Place:  Route 66 Restaurant & Music Venue
Address: 6000 Medlock Bridge Parkway,
Johns Creek, GA 30022
Deadline for entry: Midnight, July 24, 2019

There are three categories for the challenge acts:  Youth act, Solo/Duo act, and Band act. For the Youth act, all participants must be under the age of 21. While the Youth act is a competition at the Atlanta Challenge, they will not be in competition at the IBC in Memphis, but instead will be in a Youth Showcase which takes place on Friday evening of IBC week. The Youth act will need to take off at least one day from school, and possibly two, to allow for travel time to Memphis.  The Solo/Duo and Band act winners of the Atlanta Blues Challenge must be able to be in Memphis for the entire week of the IBC in order to compete in the various stages of the IBC competition (Quarter finals, Semi Finals, and Finals).  This year's Memphis IBC will be January 28-Feb 1, 2020. 

The IBC competition has changed over the years and has become very competitive, with top notch bands competing from all over the world. Please be aware that if you win the IBC, you will be expected to accept the many gig opportunities that are extended to the winners.  These opportunities include the Blues Cruise and various top rated Blues Festivals around the country.  The Memphis IBC is run by the Blues Foundation, which has many rules and regulations that we strictly follow for the Atlanta Blues Challenge.  Those acts from out of state should be aware that the Blues Foundation has a new restriction stating that the representative act should be within a 250-mile radius of the host Blues Society.  Please familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the IBC (found at the link below) before applying so you know what will be expected of you in advance:

The deadline for entry for the Atlanta Blues Challenge is midnight, July 24, 2019.  Musician sponsors of the ABS get a discount in fees. Musician Sponsorship is $50 per year and includes one membership and many promotional benefits for your act. You do not have to be a member or sponsor of the ABS to compete. 

Fees for the Challenge are as follows:
Youth Act - $75, for non-sponsors, $20 for sponsors
Solo/Duo Act - $75 for non-sponsors, $20 for sponsors
Band Act - $100 for non-sponsors, $25 for sponsors

Prize money for each winning act is as follows:
Band - $750
Solo/Duo - $400
Youth - $300
People’s Choice - $250

Winner of the People’s Choice act will be determined by voting of the paying patrons at the event. All prize winners will be invited to play at the Atlanta Blues Society’s Holiday party in December, where the prize money will be awarded along with any tips (ABS will match tip money) raised at the party. Winning acts are encouraged to have at least one other fundraising show.  In addition to the prize money, the Atlanta Blues Society has made arrangements with our sponsor, Midnight Circus Productions, to provide a studio Master recording that can be used to produce CDs (cost of replication not included) which can be sold before, during and after the Memphis event. Midnight Circus will also provide high quality videos of the Challenge performances available to all the acts. 

To apply for the Challenge and/or become a Musician Sponsor, please contact us at  We will send you the entry forms and payment information.  All entrants who have paid by the deadline will be in consideration to compete. Because of time limitations we can only have 12 acts total. However, in the event that we have to limit the number of acts, any act not able to compete will be refunded their entry fee.

CD graphic   3-4-5 System, Explanation of Band Selection Limitations:

Since we only have one event for the Atlanta Blues Challenge, the number of acts might have to be limited to the amount of time we have for this one day. The maximum number of acts we can have in this time frame is 12. The board has come up with what we think will be a fair way to limit the number of bands should we find it necessary to do so. We call it the 3-4-5 system. We have 3 categories of acts, Youth, Solo/Duo, and Band. Depending on the category the first acts to get their registration form and payment in will be the first to secure their slots in the Challenge. For the Youth Category, the first 3 acts that submit will be guaranteed to be in the Challenge. For the Solo/Duo acts, the first 4 acts that submit will be guaranteed to be in the Challenge. For the Band Category, the first 5 acts to submit will be guaranteed to be in the Challenge. All other acts that submit will be put on a waiting list in the order they submit. Once the entry deadline has passed we will see how many acts we have in each category, and if there are any open slots available we will fill these slots with acts on the waiting list in the order they submitted. For example, if we have 5 acts in the Band category, and 3 acts in the Youth category, but only 2 acts in the Solo/Duo category, we will fill the 2 open slots with the first 2 acts on the waiting list, regardless of their category. So it is very important to get your entries in as soon as possible to be able to secure a spot in the challenge.

CD graphic   Winners of the Atlanta Blues Challenge will be able to take advantage of a special offer from Midnight Circus Studios, an Atlanta Blues Society Corporate sponsor.
 Here are the details of the offer:

In order to give the Atlanta Blues Society (ABS) Blues Challenge winners the opportunity to both raise funds to help finance the trip to the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis and to have a recorded product to sell and promote themselves while in Memphis, the Atlanta Blues Society have made arrangements with Midnight Circus Studios to “Record and Master” a CD of up to 12 songs for FREE for both the Band and Solo/duo winners.  The ABS bands will be given first preference in booking time to produce these recordings, with the goal of having a finished product recorded, duplicated and ready for fund raising prior to the IBC competition in Memphis and for use in Memphis as both a for sales product and as a promotional tool.  The only requirement requested by Midnight Circus Studios is that the bands come to the studio “Record Ready”, in that they have all songs chosen, arranged and rehearsed prior to booking studio time. Midnight Circus Studios (if needed) will also advise bands on what is needed to produce graphics and Duplication of the physical CD as well as advising on the procedure of the release of the bands recordings digitally (i.e., ITunes, Amazon MP3).  The actual duplication costs of producing the physical CD and charges that are involved with the digital release of the Recordings are the sole responsibility of the acts. Midnight Circus Studios is only responsible for delivering a finished Mastered recording.
Midnight Circus Productions and Touring  – is owned and operated by Richard L’Hommedieu. As a recording engineer for over 30 years, his list of credits include Gary U.S. Bonds, Frank Latorre (harp for Johnny Winters), JPBlues, Johnny Juice (Public Enemy), Sam “Bluzman” Taylor, Sweet Suzi to name a few. He was the Blues Music Director for WUSB in NY and founded the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. He has relocated to the Atlanta area and is honored to help the Atlanta Blues Society in making this studio offer possible.  In the past, Richard has helped several bands record their masters.

Review of the Atlanta Blues Challenge
by Rhetta Akamutsu
Photos by Sandra Richardson:
The packed house in Hard Rock Cafe’s Music Room exploded in cheers and applause again and again during the more than 7 hours of music we witnessed at the Atlanta Blues Challenge on Sunday, August 21. Twelve of the best blues acts in Georgia competed for the opportunity to win the chance to represent Atlanta at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2017.

The competition was judged by five music professionals, four of whom are musicians themselves. They had a tough job because all of the acts were sensational. In addition, the attendees voted for a People’s Choice Award, and that winner receives $250. There are monetary rewards as well to help with the costs of going to Memphis for the winners. Also, every band that participates in the challenge gets an HD video of their set mixed with a full multi-track LIVE recording, free of charge! This is provided by Midnight Circus Productions and Rich L’Hommedieu, which is an invaluable tool for promoting themselves to future venues and festivals. The winning band and Solo/Duo act will also be eligible for free studio time from Midnight Circus Productions to record a CD, so they can go to Memphis with a finished professionally Studio recorded product!

Mission Statement
Blues FoundationFat Matt's Rib ShackBlind WIllie's BluesHome AdvisorChicago Joe's Rockin Blues CampRan-Die RecordsSean Costello Foundation

Windows Page link Residential page link Contractors' page link welcome slide show procedures Home Adult Programs References Kids Programs Piano Lessons Music Classes Live Entertainment Memberhship Blues Legends Blues Calendar Member Musicians SPonsors Support the Blues About the ABS Contact the ABS CD and Concert Reviews