Crossroads Blues Society
Keeping the Blues Alive Award Recipient


Thank you  to all who came out for the 2017 Crossroads Blues Festival and helped make it a huge success!  Great music, food, beverages, weather and music fans!  Looks like almost 2,800 attended and we thank each and every one of you for your support!

2017 Crossroads Blues Challenge

Crossroads Blues Society
presents the
2017 Crossroads Blues Challenge


1.      Open to all bands and solo/duo entries who live within 150 miles of Rockford AND who have played within approximately 50 miles of Rockford within the last year (August 2016 through August 2017).
2.      Entries must complete the entry application and provide a 300 dpi or better photograph of the band.
3.      Entries must be accompanied with a $25 entry fee which will be returned only if the band is not selected to compete in the Crossroads Blues Challenge (CBC).
4.      Entries must be accompanied by a three song sampler of the band.  If more than three songs are provided, the first three songs on the entry sampler will be used. 
5.      The act must be willing and able to perform in the Crossroads Blues Challenge on Sunday, October 15th, 2017 at the Lyran Society in Rockford. If they win they must be able to perform at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) held in Memphis, Tennessee from January 16 to 20, 2018.  If the winning act does not compete in Memphis they will forfeit and refund all travel expenses raised by Crossroads Blues Society back to Crossroads.
6.      If an act was ever nominated for a Blues Music Award (or the former W.C. Handy Award), the act is ineligible to compete in the CBC and IBC.
7.      An act is limited to three totqal appearances at the IBC with a maximum of two consecutive appearances at the IBC;  after two they must then sit out at least one year before being eligible to compete again. Any act under the same name will not be allowed to compete three consecutive years.
8.      An individual may not compete in more than one act in any capacity.  A musician cannot compete in the Band Division and the Solo/Duo Division, even if that musician represents a different Affiliate in each. 
9.      The CBC and IBC adhere to the following criteria for what constitutes a band:  any act with three or more musicians. Vocalists are counted as musicians for the purpose of this competition. Both electric and acoustic instruments are allowed.  Solo/duo is one or two musicians.
10.   The signature on the entry form signifies that the above rules are understood and will be complied with.  Failure to perform in Memphis as agreed to will result in immediate disqualification and forfeiture of all privileges and prizes.

The winners of the 2017 CBC (1 band and 1 solo/duo) will receive:
1.      The total of all entry fees received for the 2016 CBC date of their competition.
2.      A paid engagement at one of our Crossroads Events.  The band will paid at least $600 and $200 for solo/duo (negotiable).
3.      Crossroads will assist with other fundraising efforts to be agreed to after the CBC.

All judges decisions are final.
Who Are We?
Crossroads Blues Society, or CBS for short, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that primarily raises funds in order to host Blues In The Schools Programs in the greater Rockford area of northern Illinois.  These programs are fully funded by CBS and there is absolutely no cost to area schools for these programs.  We have done this since May 2002 and have done 243 programs for 58,220 students in northern Illinois since then.   Founded in 1994 and incorporated shortly thereafter, we had our biggest year ever this past year with 61 BITS programs and over 50 shows for the community!  We were the 2014 recipient of the Blues Foundation Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Foundation Affiliates!  We were also inducted in to the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame in 2014.
Funding for BITS now comes primarily through profits from our festival.  In 2010, Crossroads embarked on their first festival effort since 1995.  The Crossroads Blues Festival, held on the Saturday of the weekend before Labor Day Weekend, was held each of the first four years in downtown Byron, IL. In 2014 it moved and was held at Lyran Park in Rockford, just south of the Rockford Airport.  Crossroads has had success each year in providing a great lineup and full day of music at a reasonable cost.  The festival features artists on stage and music workshops. The 8th annual blues festival will be held on August 26, 2017 at Lyran Park.  Check out the current and prior festivals at 
In 2013, Crossroads inaugurated the Field of Blues Festival at Rockford Aviators Stadium.  Actually located in Loves Park, the stadium offered a unique venue for blues fans as they could sit on field, in the stands or in one of the covered deck pavilions to enjoy the day. We repeated the event in 2014 and found that while it was a great event we had a difficult time planning and executing two festivals closed together so we will not be repeating this.  Go to  to read about this former event.

Crossroads also publishes a bi-monthly newsletter with articles, music reviews and other related information.  It is published and distributed to our members, record companies and other blues industry organizations.  It is published in full color electronically (often 32 pages and sometimes more) and in black and white as a 12 page hard copy.  Each issue usually contains at least two dozen reviews of recently released CDs, DVDs and books.
In October 2013, Crossroads held their first blues challenge and has held one annually since.  Crossroads also works with a number of local venues and organizations to produce a number of live music events each year.  

For the most up to date information, go to our Upcoming Events Page to read about our upcoming events.  Our BITS page and other links pages here can give you information and access to our programs and web sites. 

Become a Member of Crossroads Blues Society

Joining Crossroads helps us keep the Blues alive and offers you some great benefits.  You get our great bimonthly newletter (as described above), you get discounts to admission some shows, and you get first dibs to volunteer to work at our festival (free admission and tee shirt).  All the money Crossroads raises goes to our newsletter, some shows and our Blues in the Schools (BITS) programs. Membership more than pays for the newsletter costs and with our shows we try to break even on costs, so the vast majority of the funds we raise go to BITS.  We hope that you will join us and help us to support keeping the Blues alive! $15 for individuals, $25 for families, and $5 extra for printed and mailed newsletters (larger PDF version is emailed as part of regular dues). New members get a free CD!  Join on line or mail you dues in to us!
The Groove
The bi-monthly newsletter of the Crossroads Blues Society.
Our issues come out at the beginning of January, March, May, July, September and November.  When a new issue goes out to members we archive the last issue on the Issuu website.  Click the button below to get to read our last issue of the Groove.  They run about 32 pages with 25-30 music reviews, articles and pictures of our events and more!

Dave Specter Reunited with Tad Robinson for One Special Show!

This is a show you will not want to miss!  Joining forces on stage are Chicago blues guitar wizard Dave Specter and soul blues singer and blues harp master Tad Robinson.  This will be a great evening of music.  Opening hte night will be the funky sounds of the "RED" Band and the smooth and soulful R&B of Joe Irving and the Flames of Fire!   Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.  Avaialble now here and starting in August at ticket outlets.
Ticket Outlets

  • J.R. Kortman, 107 N. Main Street, Rockford
  • Culture Shock, 2239 Charles St, Rockford
  • Guzzardos Music, 3010 Charles St, Rockford
  • Pig Minds Brewing Company, 4080 Steele Dr., Machesney Park, IL 61115

Crossroads Blues Society, PO Box 840, Byron, IL 61010