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255 Acts, $50,000 Purse for Blues Challenge in Memphis

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  The 30th annual International Blues Challenge is underway this week on Beale Street in Memphis.

Sponsored by the Blues Foundation, the contest this year has attracted 255 acts from 16 countries and 40 states. Beginning today, the bands will be performing in 20 venues on Beale Street.

Foundation Deputy Director Joe Whitmer says it’s not only gratifying to see the Blues being played in so many countries around the world, but also to see so many young artists.

“It’s not like, you know, that these guys are in their 60s and 70s playing the Blues. The large majority of the Blues acts that come in from around the world are young people, so that’s exciting as well knowing that, not only is it on another continent, but it’s being carried out by the next generation of musicians.”

Whitmer says the International Blues Challenge finals take place Saturday at the Orpheam Theatre. There’s a $50,000 purse. You can check out Blues.org for more information.