It was a toe-tappin’, foot stompin’ night at the Wismer House in Port Elgin when musicians came from across the entire region of Bruce-Grey and beyond to fundraise for two of their own.
From a ‘down-home’ fiddling to raunchy blues, there was music for every taste that went on into the wee hours for a crowd that couldn’t get enough.
Tyler Pantlin and Mike MacDonald, known as Shakey Trill, are off to Memphis, Tennessee to compete in the International Blues Challenge (IBC) and their fellow musicians wanted to help them out financially and Jeff Carver, owner of the Wismer House, is sponsoring the duo with air flight tickets.
“The support we received from musicians in the area was overwhelming,” says Jeff Carver of the Wismer House. “We had so many respond that we had to bump the event up by two hours to accommodate everyone who wanted to play. Thanks to our customers and the musicians, approximately $2,400 was raised to help Tyler and Mike with their expenses in Memphis.”
Shakey Trill leaves on January 16th to compete in what, according to Tyler Pantlin, “… will be the experience of a lifetime”.
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According to Wikipedia, the competition began in 1984, then named the Blues Amateur Talent Contest. The idea was to give amateur or up and coming musicians a chance to be discovered and get a foothold. In 1986 the event was renamed the National Amateur Talent Contest and 17 bands competed. Prior to 1993 the IBC had a rule that performers had to make less than 50% of their income from performing. This rule was dropped that year and the following year the word “Amateur” was dropped from the name of the event. In 1995 the event was renamed “The International Blues Talent Competition” to reflect the expanded demand and over 40 acts competed. No competition was held in 1999 as the timing of the event was changed from the fall during the King Biscuit Festival to the January/February time frame. In January 2000 the first International Blues Challenge was held with 50 bands competing. As the event has grown in size it was decided to split the acts into two categories, Band and Solo/Duo in 2002. Now each year, more than 200 acts from around the world gather on Beale Street in Memphis to compete for the International Blues Challenge.