International Blues Challenge packs clubs on Beale Street

International Blues Challenge packs clubs on Beale Street

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The home of the Blues is playing host to some of the best blues talent in the world.

The International Blues Challenge is taking place on Beale Street.

“So, International Blues Challenge really means international. We’ve got 17 countries represented,” said Barbara Newman, President and CEO of the Blues Foundation.

Over 230 bands, duos and solo acts are competing in this year’s competition.

Lafayette Farkquay from San Diego, California is hoping his band will take home the top prize.

“It’s so good. It’s so fantastic. It’s kind of like unbelievable because I’ve been working hard all those years and then finally boom," said Farkquay.

Farkquay and others had to win one of the 175 local Blues Foundation competitions held worldwide.

“It means you’re the best in your region. You’re the best in your community and now, here’s your chance to come to Memphis and let the world see who you are and try to jump on the national and international stage,” said Newman.

One of their biggest success stories coming out of the International Blues Challenge is top-selling blues act Southern Avenue. The group met and made it all the way to the finals of this competition.

Other acts have their eyes on their big break and artists and blues fans are coming to Memphis in droves.

“It’s been fabulous. We’ve had more people than we’ve ever had,” said Newman.

There's still another night of competition, but Newman says they've already sold more tickets than last year.

Winners from the semi-finals will go on to the finals Saturday night at the Orpheum.

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