The preliminary round has started and finished. Beale Street has officially been flooded with blues fans, and the music is in the air! Contestants from nearly every state and sixteen countries came and gave each song their all. There were no shortage of venues, acts, and events. Cassie Taylor, wildly talented daughter of hypnotic bluesman Otis Taylor, made a guest appearance at a jam at the New Roxy. The twelve year old blues guitar prodigy Tallan Latz, who in his few years as a professional musician, has shared the stage with Joe Bonamassa, Les Paul, Joe Satriani, and many more guitar heros, made a surprise appearance and smoked through wild solos in grand fashion.
There were no shortage of wildly talented acts, including 2Blu, Clarksdale-based Spoons & Abel, Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Madman Sam, Mighty Orq, and dozens of others. Past IBC winners Trampled Under Foot took the stage at Rum Boogie and thrilled the crowds. Rosie, the head of the VizzTone label and a prodigious harmonica master, was invited up for a few sets.
Several performers made mention of the fact that it was only a Wednesday night, but the thousands of blues fans that had made Beale their temporary home were partying like the weekend had already started!