International Blues Challenge returns to Beale Street

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Blues are booming on Beale Street!

Hundreds of Blues fans from across the world are in Memphis for this year's International Blues Challenge, known as IBC.

"It comes from your heart and your soul," said fan Keith Caudill.

"Blues just tells everyone's story," said Majorie Marshall with Metro Blues.

That's the reason these blues fans didn't have a problem standing in almost freezing temps to listen to it.

"This is the weather, this is what you get and it doesn't matter," said Blues Foundation Board Member Art Tipaldi.

Non-stop blues can be heard from venues on Beale Street over five days. It just so happens this year's competition is taking place amid the city's cold snap.

Some attendees said the cold had a slight impact on the overall turnout.

"I'm sure the weather is keeping a lot of people away," Marshall said. "I was expecting it to be where we couldn't even walk."

But despite snowfall across the region, more than 200 bands were able to make it in town for the event.

"We've got bands from Norway, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy, all over the place," Tipaldi said.

For true Blues fans, the weather is playing second fiddle to the experience of hearing the Blues in Memphis.

"First time to Memphis," Caudill said. "First time here. I'm overwhelmed by all of it. It's an honor to be here. It's a dream come true."

Bands competed in the semifinals round Friday night. Saturday is the finals round, which will take place at the Orpheum.

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