Auditions to determine the opening act of the Billtown Blues Festival began in 1993, as more and more bands began to form and spread the music throughout our region. That first audition was won by the trio Artie "the Cat" Renkel, Nate Myers and Greg Burgess. They opened the 1993 4th Annual Billtown Blues Festival.

In 1997 the Billtown Blues Association Inc. joined the Blues Foundation in Memphis, TN, raising the stakes. Winners no longer stopped with opening our festival. They were now eligible to compete in the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN. Frank Grace & the Detonators were the first band to go for that prize as the 1997 Billtown Blues Festival audition winners. The 1999 IBC was moved from October 1999 to January 2000 as part of the first annual Blues First Convention, sponsored by the Blues Foundation. The 1999 audition winner Big Daddy Dex and the Groove represented the Billtown Blues Association, Inc. at the 2000 International Blues Challenge and the first "Blues First Convention."

The 1998 audition winners, BC & the Blues Crew, advanced to the 1998 IBC finals in Memphis, TN at the International Blues Challenge. This was the first time a band representing the Billtown Blues Association received this honor. The 2002 audition winners Mike Guldin and Rollin' and Tumblin made it to the 2003 IBC finals! This was the second time a band representing the Billtown Blues Association received this honor. The 2010 solo/duo audition winner John "JT Blues" Thompson made it all the way to the 2011 IBC solo/duo finals. This was the first time a solo/duo act representing the BBA received this honor.

Representing the BBA at the INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE in Mempis, TN

1997 - Frank Grace & the Detonators
1998 - BC & the Blues Crew
1999 - no IBC, event moved to 2000
2000 - Big Daddy Dex and the Groove
2001 - Dan Stevens
2002 - Blues and Gasoline
2003 - Mike Guldin and Rollin' and Tumblin
2004 - The Lipsmackin Blues Band
2005 - The Blind Chitlin Kahunas in the Band category
          Sean Appel in the Solo/Duo category
2006 - Nate Myers and the Aces
2007 - Jonah Gregory in the Solo/Duo category
          The Blind Chitlin Kahunas in the Band category
2008 - Black-N-Blues in the Band category
          Brennon John in the Solo/Duo category
2009 - Ann Kerstetter Band in the Band category
          V.E. Paul in the Solo/Duo category
2010 - Irving Street Blues in the Band category
          Jack & Lilly in the Solo/Duo category
2011 - Miz Ida and the All-Nightas in the Band category
          John "JT Blues" Thompson in the Solo/Duo category.
2012 - The Porkroll Project in the Band category
           Shawn Strickland in the Solo/Duo category.
2013 - Roy G. Blues in the Band category
           Sean Farley in the Solo/Duo category.
2014 - The Porkroll Project in the Band category
           Greg Burgess in the Solo/Duo category.
2015 - The Nate Myers Band in the Band category
           Sean and Adam (Sean Farley & Adam Tarin) in the Solo/Duo category.
2016 - Vanessa Collier in the Band category
           Doug McMinn in the Solo/Duo category.
2017 - Gabe Stillman and the Billtown Giants in the Band category
           Kimbo Reichley and Bryan Noaker in the Solo/Duo category.

BILLTOWN BLUES CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS

2016 Band Winner: Gabe Stillman and the Billtown Giants
        Participants: Gabe Stillman and the Billtown Giants, James Day and the Fish Fry, Jeff Fetterman Band
        Solo/Duo Winner: Kimbo Reichley and Bryan Noaker
        Participants: Kimbo Reichley and Bryan Noaker, Jay Short and Cherl Miller

2015 Band Winner: Vanessa Collier Band
        Solo/Duo Winner: Doug McMinn
        Participants: Vanessa Collier Band, The Hyatt Howe Band, Jeff Fetterman Band, Doug McMinn

2014 Band Winner: The Nate Myers Band
        Participants: The Nate Myers Band, The Hyatt Howe Band, KG + 3, Jeff Fetterman Band, One Hot Minute
        Solo/Duo Winner: Sean and Adam
        Participants: Sean & Adam, Shawn Strickland & Larry Tickle

2013 Band Winner: The Porkroll Project
        Participants: The Hawks Blues Band, The Dirty Mojo Blues Band, The Porkroll Project
        Solo/Duo Winner: Greg Burgess
        Participants: Doug McMinn, Greg Burgess

2012 Band Winner: Roy G. Blues
        Participants: Miz Ida and the All-Nightas, Scoville Blues, Hyatt Howe Band, Roy G. Blues
        Solo/Duo Winner: Sean Farley
        Participants: Kim and Ed Rhoades, John "JT Blues" Thompson, Sean Farley, Frank Wicher & Chris Trasatti

2011 Band Winner: The Porkroll Project   
        Participants:The Blind Chitlin Kahunas, The SheilaMark Band, The Dirty Nickels, PA. Crude
        Solo/Duo Winner: Shawn Strickland
        Participants: Great American Architects, Alligator Crossing, Kim and Ed Rhoades

2010 Band Winner: Miz Ida and the All-Nightas   
        Participants:The SheilaMark Band, Dirty Mojo, Dave Mell Blues Band, Rotten Belly Blues
        Solo/Duo Winner: John "JT Blues" Thompson     Participants: Kim and Ed Rhoades

2009 Band Winner: Irving Street Blues   Participants: Flicker Blues Band, In The Kitchen,
       The Blind Chitlin Kahunas, Dirty Bird Blues Band, BluesMoon

       Solo/Duo Winner: Jack and Lilly
        Participants: Hannah Bingman & Doug McMinn, Kim and Ed Rhoades

2008 Band Winner: Ann Kerstetter Band Participants: Irving Street Blues, Nate Myers & the Aces,
       The Blind Chitlin Kahunas, The Dirty Nickels, BluesMoon

       Solo/Duo Winner: V.E. Paul Participants: Hannah Bingman & Doug McMinn, Steve Quelet, Jay Short

2007 Winner: Black-N-Blues
Participants: Brennon John (Runner-Up), The Dirty Nickels, Round Dog

2006 Winner: Jonah Gregory
Participants: The Blind Chitlin Kahunas, Dirty Bird, Round Dog

2005 Winner: Nate Myers and the Aces
Participants: Black and Blues, Doug McMinn, Midnight Shift, Octavia and the Earthblood Blues Band, Slaughterhouse Blues

2004 Winner: The Blind Chitlin Kahunas
Participants: Sean Appel, Jay and Rosie Short, Shade Tree Mechanics

2003 Winner: Lipsmackin Blues Band
Participants: The Fat Cats, Fat Vinny & the Wiseguys, Jay Short & Jonah Gregory, Zydecoal

2002 Winner: Mike Guldin and Rollin' and Tumblin
Participants: The Fat Cats, Jay Short & Jonah Gregory, The Jeff Fetterman Band, Shade Tree Mechanics

2001 Winner: Blues and Gasoline
Participants: Susquehanna Sheiks, Shade Tree Mechanics, 100° In The Shade, 9 lb. Hammer

2000 Winner: Dan Stevens
Participants: Cobra Kings Blues Band, Lick Farm, Doug McMinn, Don Shappelle

1999 Winner: Big Daddy Dex and the Groove
Participants: Cobra Kings Blues Band, Doug & Dave, Nuclear Dave & the Reactors, Young Gun Blues Band

1998 Winner: BC & the Blues Crew
Participants: Blues & Gasoline, Cruel 4 Days, Little Sister & the Rhythm Method, R.C. Yetter & Riviera Paradise, The Sirens

1997 Winner: Frank Grace & the Detonators
Participants: AAA Blues Band, Bluezilla, Blues & Gasoline, Crosscut Saw, Cruel 4 Days

1996 Winner: Tom Rosencrans and Nate Myers.
Participants: Blue Willie and Jay Short, The Dave Brumbaugh Band, Greg Burgess Trio, The Nightcrawlers, The John Sullivan Band

1995 Winner: Mo' Blues

1994 Winner: Krypton City Blues Review

1993 Winner: Artie Renkel, Nate Myers and Greg Burgess
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Billtown Blues Association
PO Box 2
Hughesville, PA 17737
Phone: 570-584-4480
Fax: 570-584-4608
www.billtownblues.org   ©2013 the Billtown Blues Association, Inc.
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