As many of you know, the Lauren Mitchell Band and the Delta Swamp Rats will be representing the Suncoast Blues Society at the 2014 International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis. Both artists will be participating in several fundraisers in order to defray the cost of the trip to Memphis. The first event will be at the Blue Rooster on Sunday, November 17th starting at 4:30pm.
The 30th International Blues Challenge will begin Tuesday Night January 21st with the FedEx International Showcase. The quarter final rounds will be held on Wednesday and Thursday night, January 22nd and 23rd. On Friday, January 21st, semi-finals will commence with only 28 bands of the original 200 moving on. Saturday, January 25th the International Blues Challenge will conclude with the final round of competition. Only nine bands will move on from semi-finals to compete in the beautiful and historic Orpheum Theater. For more information about the “IBC’s” VISIT THE WEBSITE.
I had a chance to sit down with both Steve and Lauren. Neither of them likes to talk…….wrong! Here is some interesting and important information about the trip that Lauren shared with me……
WHAT IS REQUIRED Of The Lauren Mitchell Band: (by the numbers)
• Miles we will travel: 1,780 (round trip)
• Time in the Van: 25 hours and 46 minutes (and that’s without gasoline / bathroom breaks!)
• Hours we have / will spend writing new songs: 700 (collectively, there are 3 songwriters in the band)
• Hours we will spend rehearsing (between now and January 20th): over 200
• Hours we will spend promoting/fund-raising: COUNTLESS!
EXPENSES FOR OUR TRIP:
• Cost of Gasoline: $600-$700
• Hotels for 5 people for one week (7 days): $2,000.00
• Meals for 5 VERY HUNGRY Band members (EST $40/day per person) $1,400
• Wardrobe (because we HAVE to look GOOD!) – (EST $150/per person) $750
• Red Shoes (A girl can’t wear the same pair twice!)
• AND … we are probably going to need a bottle of Champagne on Saturday night, the 25th, to celebrate our win!
TOTAL ESTIMATED COST OF TRIP: $5,350
Lauren is really excited and her enthusiasm about the competition is contagious! We had some laughs and actually a few tears thinking about what lies ahead. I asked her to share how she really feels……. “I am so happy to be representing one of the best blues societies in North America at the International Blues Challenge this year. The Suncoast Blues Society does an amazing job of supporting their member bands & artists & that is WHY we have such a great blues scene here in the Tampa Bay area. The LMB is gonnah take our full-throttle performances & red high heels to Beale Street & show ’em how it’s done!”
I asked Steve the same question, and begged him to keep it under 2 minutes! (Steve can’t have any conversation under 2 minutes!) “The Delta Swamp Rats are ready to take our brand of excitement to the IBC’s. We’re bringing down-home, screamin’ & yellin’, hard-core Mississippi Delta Funk Blues to Memphis for the Suncoast Blues Society. I really want to raise the bar this year at the Solo/Duo Competition.”
So, there you have it, my first story about the International Blues Challenge. There will be so much more to share. Watch the Sarasota Post for updates. I love my job, love Lauren, and Steve too!
Oh, If you don’t live in the Tampa Bay Area & would like to make a contribution to The Lauren Mitchell Band or Steve Arvey, Make a check payable to either artist and mail it to:
Suncoast Blues Society
Attention: James Randolph
P.O Box 4232
Tampa, FL 33677