Blues Challenge Finals – June 21

Get ready for the IBC in Memphis


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If you are ready for an afternoon of some of the top blues in Connecticut.  Then head over to the Hannon-Hatch VFW on South Street in West Hartford.  It is the place with the flags and cannons outside and one of the best blues crowds in the state inside.

It is the Connecticut Blues Society’s Blues Challenge Finals.  The CtBS and the VFW have a history of putting on this event.  A nice room with A/C and plenty of refreshments makes for a full afternoon.

The Blues Challenge is the nineteenth annual for CtBS. Six bands are squaring off for the opportunity to represent the state in Memphis at the Blues Foundations International Blues Challenge (IBC).  The bands have made it through the first round and now lay it all on the line.

Taking part are The Suit, Ty & Thurrsty – Tom (The Suit) Forst, Tyree (Ty) Pope and Pedro (Bigg Thurrsty) Johnson have created a band with a solid style and with some Memphis connections.    



Petey Hop & the Jack Rabbits – An experienced band and their time together shows in their playing.  This is one of the bands that has been to the IBC.


The Balkun Brothers Band. – Young and dynamic is an easy way to describe this trio.  Older brother Steve went down to the IBC as a solo act and he and brother Nick took part as a duo last year.    

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The Mighty Soul Drivers –  This band just fills you up.  With experienced talent across the stage, they thrill all audiences.    

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Mike Crandall Band Energy and excitement are there when Crandall plays.  A veteran of the IBC (more than one trip), he continues to shime.  Backed by quality musicians, the harp is center stage.

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and One Eyed Johnny & the Grave Diggers – Newer on the Connecticut scene but with veteran players this is a solid.  One-eyed Johnny on harmonica has Mike Bloomer’s guitar to bring it home.


Ed Stack, CtBS President wanted to remin eveeryone, ” The bands will be competing with a wide range of styles – from traditional blues to soul blues to blues rock. The doors open at 1:00 PM and it will be an exciting afternoon. The design on the shirt was done by John Bailey.”

The IBC is the biggest gathering of blue bands in the world.  Bands from around the globe participate.  It really shows how universal the blues is.  People are already making arrangements for the January event.  With over 160 acts there is no shortage of blues.  For some players, this has been a stepping stone to greater exposure.



Get in on the ground floor by stopping by on June 21.  More entertainment, more blues and more good people.

Questions/comments, I can be reached through the Blog comments or at

BluesBeatNews is written, produced, directed and photographed by Domenic Forcella.



About bluesbeatnews52

Blues columnist writing a weekly column dedicated to the Blues. The only column of its kind in a commercial (paid subscription) newspaper. Column appears in the Middletown Press, Bristol Press, Torrington Register-Citizen, and the New Britain Herald. Forcella has served on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation representing the Journalism constituency. Served on the Board of Directors Connecticut Blues Society as Past President and Past Editor of newsletter. Recipient: Keeping the Blues Alive award in Journalism from the Blues Foundation. Has contributed both writing and photos to nationnal blues publications.

One response to “Blues Challenge Finals – June 21

  1. Ed Stack

    The bands will be competing with a wide range of styles – from traditional blues to soul blues to blues rock. The doors open at 1:00 PM and it will be an exciting afternoon. The design on the shirt was done by John Bailey.

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