January 2021 Newsletter 

The Blues Foundation preserves blues heritage, celebrates blues recording and performance, expands worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensures the future of this uniquely American art form. 

 A Message from the President 

“Necessity is the mother of invention” 

“When a door closes, open a window” 

“Make lemonade out of lemons” 

No matter the catchphrase, they all describe the process of transforming a challenging circumstance into something positive. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced The Blues Foundation to embrace this approach for our 2021 signature events. We have combined creativity and optimism, with a dash of daring, to re-invent both the International Blues Challenge (IBC) and Blues Music Awards (BMAs). 

As the foremost competition for blues musicians, the IBC has helped launch the careers of many of today's brightest blues stars. This year when COVID-19 precautions preclude a traditional competition in Memphis, we will celebrate IBC's impact and energy with premiere performances and testimonials from many of the blues artists who have previously competed. We will launch our IBC tribute with a social media campaign that combines the music, memories, and insights unique to IBC. The social media campaign will also include a full calendar of engaging virtual panel discussions, book talks, and workshops. Join us on Facebook and Twitter in late February to be part of the fun. 

When the pandemic forced us to present the BMAs virtually in 2020, we had no idea that we would be in a similar situation twelve months later. While the vaccine offers hope that the COVID-19 scourge might soon come to an end, we are prioritizing the health and safety of blues artists, our members, and fans. The 2021 BMAs will once again be a virtual presentation. Last year Shemekia Copeland and other artists graciously invited us into their homes for a virtual BMA party. This year we promise that your BMA experience will be no less unique and enjoyable. Tune in on Sunday, June 6th for the year’s best in blues virtual bash. 

While we have necessarily re-imagined both the IBC and the BMAs, our goals for these events remain the same. Despite the challenges of our current circumstances, we will come together as a community to celebrate the blues and honor the accomplishments of blues artists. We hope that you will embrace and enjoy these temporary alternatives to the events that you know and love. 

Can’t stop the music! 


Patty Wilson Aden 
President & CEO