MEMPHIS,TN – With the 36th Blues Music Awards, the Blues Hall of Fame Grand Opening and the month of May in the rear view mirror, the Blues Foundation is settling in, learning all about our renovated space –Where are the lights? How do these thermostats work? What nights does the janitorial service come? And then there is the nuts and bolts of running the Blues Hall of Fame seven days a week, what are the staffing needs, what can the staff do besides wait and assist visitors, what do we turn on and off each day, what do we not touch?
Chief Operations Officer Joe Whitmer has already sat down with Mike Wilson at Ardent Studios to being the edit of the 36th Blues Music Awards for the purpose of producing a show for public television and a CD/DVD combination. In 2014, they produced both products in record time and they hope to do even better this year. Speaking of the BMA’s the month of June sees the beginning of the submission process as artists and labels register their releases for consideration for the 37th Blues Music Awards. At that time, they will also have the opportunity to ship us their releases so we can send them to the nominators. Stay tuned in the next few weeks to learn when this process is all ready. Speaking of the 2016 BMAs, the date is May 12, 2016.
In the past several years, our time has been very much occupied with the fundraising, construction, curation and operational planning for the Blues Hall of Fame. This summer we plan to spend more time on our website and on membership recruitment. The best thing a blues fan can do to support The Blues Foundation is to be a member and renew year in and year out. Member privileges include BMA voting, LRBC drawing and now, free admission to the Blues Hall of Fame.
In addition to our planning for the 2016 Blues Music Awards, we begin planning for the 32nd IBC set for January 26-30, 2016. This really kicks into high gear in September/October time frame. As a reminder, Keeping the Blues Alive Award submissions will be due September 30. It is never too early to begin working on your submissions. We will be sending more information on this later this month.
Joe will be sending out reminders soon to all affiliates to renew their membership which expires each year June 30.
We have begun issuing Generation Blues checks in recent weeks–this summer we will fund thirty young performers with scholarships in the amount of $22,945.
Finally, with respect to the Blues Hall of Fame and office renovation, we have yet to borrow any funds for the project which is a huge testament to the donors, first for their generosity and second for their fidelity to their pledge. At this point, it would be a great accomplishment to keep it that way. All of the bills have not yet been submitted to us and in order to complete the project without borrowing, Cindi James will be reaching out to donors with outstanding balances this month in order to finish this capital campaign with a bang!
And no doubt that is just the half of the work confronting us this summer.