Our Mission

To preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form.

2017 Blues Music Awards News

The Blues Foundation has opened submissions for 2017 Blues Music Award consideration. If you have already released or will be releasing an album between November 1, 2015 and October 31, 2016, your music is eligible for consideration. In addition, if you have been actively performing this past year, you might be eligible for a performance-based award.


For detailed instructions on how to submit your music to The Blues Foundation for BMA consideration please download this instruction sheet:
Blues Music Awards Submission Process.Please note: We are now in the second round of the submission process which runs from September 6 – September 30, 2016 with a CD distribution fee of $180. The third round of the submission process runs from October 1 – October 24, 2016 during which time the CD distribution fee increases to $225. All discs must arrive in The Blues Foundation office no later than October 24, 2016 for distribution to the BMA nominators.


You may also visit this link to go directly to the online submission site

Greetings from Barbara

Hello Blues Fans:
It’s late September which means that school is back in session, the weather should begin to cool off soon (It’s still in the 90’s here in Memphis, so this is both a wish as well as a general statement), and The Blues Foundation in moving into high gear on all of our upcoming programs. While BMA submissions are arriving daily and the Keeping the Blues Alive Award process is well underway, our attention is quickly turning towards the International Blues Challenge which will take place on Beale Street in Memphis, TN from Tuesday, January 31st though Saturday, February 4th. We are following all of our Affiliates as they have their own local challenges, and we are getting excited for the activity that will descend upon Memphis in early 2017.

Many of you have called our offices or sent emails inquiring about when IBC tickets will go on sale and when our hotel blocks will open for your reservations.  On October 1st, we will be sending an email to current Blues Foundation members to open ticket sales and to share links to all of the Downtown Memphis hotels with whom we have blocks of rooms with special rates for our members. If you are not a member of The Blues Foundation, make sure to JOIN NOW in order to be included in this communication. Rooms sell out quickly for the IBC, and our members always get first access, so your membership is the best way to get this information ahead of the general public.

This year, we are increasing our daytime activities beyond just the showcases to include workshops, panels, and a new documentary film, and we will be unveiling these special events over the course of the next few months as plans are finalized. In order to join us for any of these events at our 2017 IBC, you must have a pass for the entire week. Your pass will get you into everything IBC, so make sure you go online ahead of the event to purchase yours so you can enjoy all of the IBC offerings, not just the challenge performances. Passes are only $100 for the entire week. It’s quite the blues lover’s deal!

The rest of this newsletter is full of our recent travels, festivals, affiliate activity, blues news, and information about our upcoming Blues Hall of Fame Museum exhibits. Let us know how we are doing, or better, come visit! We’d love to see you in person and welcome you to your blues home.

Bluesy Regards,


The Big Blues Bender recently hosted their 1st annual Bender Party with HART in the Bender Showroom where there was a capacity crowd in attendance. The event raised awareness and $15,000 for the cause! Thanks to A.J. Gross, all of the musicians who donated their time and talent, and the whole Bender team for your generosity and support.
While we were at the Big Blues Bender, The HART Fund offered Health Screenings to both musicians and fans. We checked cholesterol and blood sugar, monitored blood pressure, gave free flu shots, and answered questions about general health concerns. MusicCares joined us to offer free custom made earplugs to musicians who qualified.

Here, Dr. Janice Johnston supervised while young guitar protege Taz Niederauer’s ear’s were molded for his new ear plugs. We’re doing our part to protect the long-term hearing of all of our blues musicians!

Happy Birthday Dorothy Moore! And thank you for donating proceeds from your 70th Birthday Celebration to the HART Fund. If you are in the Jackson, MS neighborhood on October 13th, you won’t want to miss the fun.

Ebay Auction Item of the Month

This month’s Blues Foundation auction item is the signed Steve Miller Album, The Steve Miller Band Living In the USA. If you love rock blues, this is the perfect addition to your vinyl collection.

To make a bid or to buy it now for $550, click on this link.

The Blues Hall of Fame Museum:
What’s Happening

The Photographs of Marc Norberg
Thursday, October 6th
11am until 1pm
Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise Gallery

Marc Norberg, known for his stunning black and white portrait photographs of blues greats, will be at The Blues Foundation on October 6th from 11am until 1pm to greet visitors and talk about his work. Marc received the prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive Award for photography in 1998. If you will be in the Memphis area on October 6th, as you head towards the King Biscuit Blues Festival, please stop by to say hello to Marc. Select photographs will also be on sale in The Blues Hall of Fame Gift Shop.

Famed artist, Ernie Patton, will be joining Marc Norberg at the Grand opening of the Black and Blues Exhibit on October 6th. Ernie has created 10 brand new paintings of Blues Hall of Famers which will hang in the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise Gallery to compliment Marc Norberg’s photography. Each painting is an original and will be on sale to the public while on exhibit

This exhibit is part of Bridging the Blues.  For more information about other Bridging the Blues activities, visit www.bridgingtheblues.com

Little Milton has had lots of visitors since his statue was unveiled at the Blues Hall of Fame Museum last year. From the famous to the furry and lots of folks in between. Click on this Facebook Video and see who your recognize. If you have not visited yet, come on by and we’ll make sure you get your photo snapped with Little Milton, too.

photo credit: Andrea Zucker

The Blues Hall of Fame Museum – Open Daily
Monday through Saturday from 10am until 5pm
Sunday from 1pm until 5pm
$10 per person admission
Blues Foundation Members and Children – FREE

Join Now

Festival Fun

The blues resonates everywhere! Early this month The Harvest Time Blues Festival was held in Monaghan Ireland. Check out their poster that highlights all of the wonderful blues musicians who performed and this photo of Leo “Bud” Welch, bringing his Mississippi blues across the Atlantic.
The Blues Foundation was thrilled to be a part of The Big Blues Bender in Las Vegas in early September. On Friday, September 9th, we led a panel discussion about our mission in the Bender Showroom.

L – R: Bob Margolin, talking about Generation Blues; Dr. Janice Johnston, discussing the HART Fund; Barbara Newman, moderator, Victor Wainwright, answering questions about his B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Blues Music Award, and IBC winning Delgado Brothers, talking about the impact of their IBC win upon their career.
It was a special Pennsylvania Blues Festival this year! Congratulations to Kenny Neal, on receiving the Pennsylvania Lifetime Achievement Award and to Michael Cloeren, honored on 25 years of dedication in producing this wonderful festival. Paul Benjamin, Blues Foundation Board Chair, and Bill Wax were on hand to present these honors to both Kenny and Michael in front of the festival crowd

Blues News

Did you happen to see the September issue of Smithsonian? The Blues Foundation’s own International Blues Challenge was at the heart of their article, “Keeping the Blues Alive.” You’ll recognize the players and enjoy photos from the 2016 IBC. And hopefully, it will encourage you to come to Memphis this year for the 2017 International Blues Challenge from January 31st through Feburary 4th.


The Blues Foundation mourns the passing in the past month of the following members of the blues family:

Joe Savarin
Michael Sklar
Amy van Singel
Jay Robert West

Thanks to everyone in the blues community who has contacted The Blues Foundation to assist us in keeping up with blues obituaries as they happen. As we are saddened to say good-bye, we wish to honor their legacy.

36 years ago, Joe Savarin had the vision to create an organization to promote and preserve blues heritage and music. And thus, The Blues Foundation was formed. All of us were saddened to hear of his recent passing. The Blues Foundation extends heartfelt sympathies to his family as we recognize his tremendous contribution to the blues genre and blues community.
Helping Musicians in Need
In response to the recent flooding in Baton Rouge,The Music Maker Relief Foundation has created the Baton Rouge Musicians Fund (BRMF). The fund was created in partnership with the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation and will directly support musicians impacted by the Louisiana Flood. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Baton Rouge Musicians Fund through Music Maker at THIS LINK.
Congratulations to Stony Plains Records and Holger Peterson on celebrating your 40th Anniversary. With close to 400 releases, Stony Plain Records has earned 6 Grammy nominations and a shelf full of Canadian accolades, including 11 Juno Awards, some 20 Maple Blues Awards, and Canadian Country Music Association awards as well. The Blues Foundation named Stony Plain as the 2014 label of the year, and Holger Petersen as broadcaster of the year in 2008. This year, he marks his 30th year as the host of Saturday Night Blues, nationally broadcast every week on CBC Radio.
The 17th Annual Woodstock Film Festival will be held Oct. 13-16 in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Kingston, Saugerties and Rosendale, New York. More than 150 independent films, documentaries, features, shorts, and animation will be screened. During the festival, a film of particular interest to blues lovers will be shown:Two Trains Runnin’  is about two forgotten blues singers. Screening times, locations and ticket prices are available at woodstockfilmfestival.com.

Opportunities for the Blues Industry

This competition is open to both amateur and professional songwriters, and winning ISC is a distinction that has propelled many artists to achieve greater success, including getting record and publishing deals, licensing agreements, gigs, and much more.

  • Over $150,000 in cash and prizes including an overall Grand Prize consisting of $25,000 (US) cash and much more in merchandise and services
  • A total of 71 winners
  • 23 categories for you to enter
  • Highest profile judges in any songwriting competition, including Tom Waits, Chris Cornell, Lorde, Bastille, Donovan, Joe Bonamassa, India Arie,  Mike Stern, Salif Keita, Keane, Ryan Bingham, and many more – as well as Presidents, CEOs, and A&R executives from Atlantic, Warner Bros., RCA, Sire, Glassnote, Island, Razor & Tie, Sony Music Latin, Concord Label Group, Warner Music Nashville, Alligator, Wind-Up, Interscope, Provident, Capitol, Black River, New West, Virgin/EMI, Word, and more

Registration for the 2016 International Songwriting Competition is now open at THIS LINK.
The Regular Deadline has passed, but the following extended deadlines remain active

  • Extended Deadline Nov 4, 2016 ($35 per entry)
  • Love Songs/Pick Your Cause Special Promotion Nov 17 – Dec 1, 2016 ($35 per entry)

Semi-Finalists announced Feb, 2017
Finalists announced March, 2017
Winners announced April, 2017

For a current list of this year’s judges, please visit this link

What’s new for ISC 2016?
This year ISC has added a new category called Unpublished.  We all know how important publishing is to an artist – it is one of the major sources of revenue, but it is so difficult to get your music heard by publishing companies. So, ISC is taking steps to open the doors for you by having established, high-profile publishers as judges for this category only. This is your chance to get your music heard by publishers who can help your songwriting career. Songs entered into Unpublished cannot be owned in any part by a music publishing company (entrant must own 100% of the publishing rights to the song). Songs entered into the Unpublished category must also be entered into at least one other category (excluding the Unsigned Only category).