Italian Blues Challenge 2016

The Italian Blues Challenge finals took place on the 29th of October, displaying six bands which had come to our attention in the long months leading up to this event. We started when trying to involve a series of Italian bands, to the extent that we gathered seventy-seven bands: young musicians as well as historical outfits. The first stage featured a selection by several juries made of well known figures of the Italian music biz. After listening to songs sent via email, they selected twenty bands. But the true novelty of this Challenge was the decision to shortlist the six final bands through six live semifinals, equally spread on the national territory and each one organized by six major blues festivals:

Blues River/Lombardia – Blues a Balues/Emilia-Romagna – Torrita Blues/Toscana – Macchia Blues/Molise – Campania Blues/Campania – Marco Fiume Blues Passion/Calabria.

Such decision enabled us to enhance the competing artists’ and the Challenge’s prominence, compared to the formula of the previous years, when there were two live semifinals in two clubs. Thus, the spectator number grew from a few hundreds to several thousands. In order for us to make sure that the Challenge took place in accordance with the rules, every semifinal was supervised by a member of the IBU board.

As far as the final is concerned, it was organized for the first time in Southern Italy, namely in Basilicata, and the local promoter in charge was the Associazione Pignola Cross Roads. The event was a success: some 600 hundred people filled the marvelous XIX Century Teatro Stabile, where everybody enjoyed an extremely professional show, both technically (sound and lights) and artistically. Thanks to the Italian radio historical voice of Sergio Mancinelli, who hosted the show, the audience remained focused and warm for four hours. The contest unfolded in a wonderful atmosphere and all the musicians, perfectly aware of the spirit of the event, which was centered on communion and friendship – the values that the IBU and this Challenge have always fostered – rejoiced for the wonderful evening of great blues and for the audience’s enthusiastic reaction. In the course of the evening, while waiting for the final results, IBU honorary membership cards were given to the musician Fabrizio Poggi and to the host of the show, Sergio Mancinelli, for their great work in spreading the blues all over Italy. The 2016 Challenge was won by the Bayou Moonshiners, Stephany Ghizzoni and Max Lazzarin brilliant duo. These two artists, who will represent Italy in the coming month of April in Horsens, Denmark, have thrilled the jury and the audience, transforming the local theatre in a merry New Orleans music hall.

The IBU national meeting was held along with the final, with the election of the Italian Delegate, voted by the EBU members. The only candidate was Giovanni Melis (art director of one of the most important and oldest festivals in Italy, “Narcao Blues”, which has been running for 28 years in Sardinia), who was unanimously elected.

In attachment, you will find a photograph and a short biography of the winner, the final standings, a list of the EBU member who voted and of the proxies, a biography of the new Italian Delegate and further contacts.

A big thanks to all the members of the Board, for your kind cooperation. See you in Horsens.

Best Regards

Italian Blues Union – Davide Rossi

Contact New Country Responsable Italy

Gianni Melis –