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Here's some background details of the event from the UKBlues Federation:

What is the UK Blues Challenge (UKBC)?

An annual event organised by the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) at a different location in the UK at which a number of bands/acts compete in front of a panel of judges drawn from across the blues spectrum.

The winning band/act is invited to represent the UK at the following year’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis and European Blues Challenge (EBC) which is held in a different European country each year.

The International and European Blues Challenges are organised by, respectively, the Blues Foundation ( and the European Blues Union (EBU) (

We are very pleased that this year’s event took take place at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool on Sunday 10th September 2017. More details can be found at and  UKBlues is excited to be bringing the blues back to the Cavern sixty years on! 

How are the contestants in the UKBC chosen?

As an Active Member of the EBU meeting the EBU’s laid down criteria (see EBC rules here) and the sole UK Affiliate of the Blues Foundation, (see IBC rules here) UKBlues are honoured to be invited to create and manage the selection process to choose the band or artist who will represent the UK at these prestigious events each year.

The first stage of the process this year saw a panel of more than 250 people from across the blues spectrum in the UK which included the membership of UKBlues, all UK based Active Members of the EBU, members of the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association, festival and gig promoters, writers (both online and print media), musicians, fans and blues supporters etc. being invited to submit the three UK acts that they felt would best represent the UK at the EBC and IBC.

Members of this panel were asked to place their choices in order (first, second, third) and points were awarded according to the position in which the acts were placed by the panel members.

The 4 top scoring available acts after this process was complete were invited to participate in the UKBC where the contestants will perform in front of a panel of judges who will use the same criteria to award points to the contestants as are used at the EBC and IBC.

In a new departure this year, a fifth band was invited to participate which was selected from the 8 bands invited by Jessica Foxley Unsigned to play at the Great British Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Festival which took place in Colne over the August Bank Holiday weekend –  These bands are, generally, under the radar and being selected to play at Colne is a big step up for them.

The band was chosen by a panel of representatives of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned project and was chosen on the strength of their performance at Colne.

The winner of the UKBC will be invited to represent the UK at both the 2018 EBC and IBC. 

What are the selection and judging criteria?

When making their selections, the members of the panel are asked to bear in mind the following EBC rules which apply:

- The leader of the band must have the nationality of the country he/she represents.

- At least 50% of the members of the contestant bands must reside in the country they represent.

- Acts who participated in a previous edition of the EBC, but did not win, may compete again after a period of 3 years.

- Bands of which half or more of the musicians participated in a previous EBC with another band, may compete again after a period of 3 years.

- Bands of which less than half of the musicians participated in a previous EBC with another band, may compete again after a period of 2 years.

Contestants at the UKBC, EBC and IBC are expected to perform at least 50% original music in their set and they are awarded points using the following criteria as laid down by the EBU:

- Originality

- Instrumental talent

- Vocal talent

- Stage presence

- Blues content

This process is the same as that which has been used in previous years and is approved by the Blues Foundation and the European Blues Union.


The Result:

Winners of the 4th UK Blues Challenge 2017 are:

LaVendore Rogue

Kaz Hawkins (winner 2016) handing the trophy to JoJo Burgess (LaVendore Rogue)

Kaz Hawkins, Ashwyn Smyth (Chairman, UK Blues Federation) with LaVendore Rogue

Photos© Copyright 2017 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.


Click here for Review by Rosy Greer

The Photos of all contestants and special guests (in order of appearance):

more coming soon ....


 Elles Bailey  




 Robert J Hunter Band  


 LaVendore Rogue  


 Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion  


The winners with special guests ...

 LaVendore Rogue
    with Connie Lush, Kaz Hawkins, Kyla Brox and Victor Brox




Website & Photos © Copyright 2000-2017 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Text (this page) © Copyright 2017 UKBlues Federation. All Rights Reserved.
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