Now i have been 3 years a (quarterfinal judge) on the IBC and quite frankly i am flabbergasted by this article. The IBC gives clear instructions how to judge to its judges. I think Mr. Herrington's comments are not fair at all to all judges,who -based on their knowledge- do their best to pick a winner. Prewar blues, folk blues, accoustic blues, post war blues electric blues, rock blues, classic blues there is always a point of discussion and interpretion between the judges:
Who fits in what, originality, stage presence etc. Yes there will be a difference in view about the artists by different judges. However when i read and i quote Mr. Herrington" If a contest like the International Blues Challenge wants to truly discover new talent and to be relevant to those outside of the blues-society members it immediately serves, it needs outside-the-club artists" than i have the feeling that Mr. Herrington does not understand what the IBC
is all about nor its selection process. I would suggest that Mr. Herrington organizes his own blues contest for all blues artists (American Blues Idol?) with guidelines he deems fit with judges he deems qualified in order for him to find out that his own pick will not always win and perhaps in most cases never..... wins!
Up to now i have not been disappointed by the outcome of the winners; sometimes on my watch not all judges came to the same conclusion. Also this time someone did not make it to the finals which i picked a winner, but then i did not see his second performance as i was judging somewhere else at that time! The more talent in a contest the harder it is to pick a winner. One of the contestants who was on my watch told me:" I
am having a wonderful time ,the exposure, the experience, its priceless and not everybody can win and it is not only about winning, it's all about living the blues". I think that that contestant "got it", contrary to Mr. Herrington.
The performance of the artist is what matters and not the demographics or race. And in any competition not always the best will win according to some critics.
The career of any artist does not depend on winning one contest. I have met many great artists who never entered any contest or lost one contest and doing very well.
Anyway Mr. Herrington states that his pick does not need the IBC if i read it well. Now i have never met Mr. Herrington but i cannot help the feeling
that Mr. Herrington got so frustrated that that his pick did not make it through the IBC that he had to write about this -in his eyes - "unjustice". I feel sorry for him that he feels that way but that does not make the contents of article right: the best captains are always standing onshore!
Keep the heritage alive!
Rock & Blues Museum, Clarksdale
By Chris Shaw
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