Hitting a High Note

When the International Blues Challenge (IBC), a competition held every winter that features 150 blues bands from around the world, lands on Beale Street in Memphis — “The Home of the Blues ”— local blues bars hustle to make the most of the crowd. A $10 wristband allows guests admittance to all participating venues.

“We are very thankful to The Blues Foundation and the Memphis (Convention &) Visitors Bureau for allowing us to host this event,” Kelly Potter, general manager of Club 152 on Beale, explains. “The Blues Foundation does a great job marketing this around the world. This is a competition, so the 150 bands are responsible for most of the marketing/self-promotion.”

Because the IBC brings thousands of new patrons to the area annually, Potter’s staff creates lively, in-house events for the occasion.

“901 Tequila, Red Bull and Budweiser are just a few of the nationwide sponsors that helped us personally with this event,” he says. “Club 152 has 20 blues bands on two floors each of the first two nights of the competition. On the third night, we host the semifinals, consisting of eight of the 150 bands that were in the competition.”

The crowds at Club 152 are proof that coordinating programs with local events pays off for everyone involved.

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