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    International Blues Challenge Brings Acts to Memphis

    The 29th annual International Blues Challenge, the world’s largest gathering of blues acts, will convene in Downtown Memphis from Tuesday, Jan. 29, through Saturday, Feb. 2.

    Blues acts will compete in Beale Street clubs and bars for a chance to perform in the finals on The Orpheum Theatre’s stage Saturday afternoon. The Blues Foundation, based at 421 S. Main St., hosts the yearly competition.

    Last year’s International Blues Challenge involved 750 musicians from 14 countries over five days, resulting in 1,100 to 3,600 people on Beale Street each night.

    Of those Beale Street patrons, only 11 percent were from Tennessee and Mississippi. For the out-of-towners, 80 percent indicated that the International Blues Challenge is the only reason they come to Memphis, with 74 percent of the study participants indicating they would likely return.

    This ultimately resulted in approximately $3.5 million in economic activity and an estimated 45 new jobs. Additionally, the Blues Music Awards drew 1,357 visitors to Memphis; approximately $1.6 million in spending; and an estimated 23 new jobs.