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And The Winners Are...

Battle of the Bands: Fat Cat & The Blues Band

DCBS Solo/Duo Competition: Sam O’Hare and Danny Garrett

On Sunday, October 15, DCBS held its annual Solo/Duo Competition and Battle of the Bands. Five solo/duo acts and three bands competed for the opportunity to represent DCBS at the 2024 International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN. The talent that was showcased that evening was truly impressive. 

The judges for the event were all seasoned blues musicians: David Cole, Carly Harvey, Steve Levine, Scott Mattern, and Liz Springer. They had the difficult task of rating each performance based on the same criteria used at the IBC.

The five solo/duo acts were up first, with Paul the Resonator and Vince Fireball opening the show, followed by entrants Steve Hung, Sam O’Hare & Danny Garrett, Destiny & Soul, and Little Joe Bourgeois. 

The bands followed, with DC Mudd up first, followed by Fat Cat & The Blues Band, and Reggie Right Eye & The Missing Pieces. Sam O’Hare and Danny Garrett took first place in the Solo/Duo category, with second place going to Little Joe Bourgeois, and third place to Destiny & Soul. O’Hare & Garrett also won the DCBS 2021 Solo/Duo Competition. Find out more about them on their website & Facebook.

Fat Cat & The Blues Band won first place in the Battle, with second place going to DC Mudd. If you aren’t familiar with Fat Cat & The Blues Band, check them out at Fat Cat & The Blues Band 

The event was well attended and DCBS thanks everyone who came out to see the show and support the entrants.

The show was produced by DCBS Board members Pat Bransford, Dorothy Hines, Adam Oppenheim, and John Litwack, with the assistance of volunteers Sam’i Nuriddin (former DCBS Board member and past president), Gayle Cinquegrani, who has served as time-keeper for the event for many years, and Miss Ann, who ran the 50/50 raffle.

Click on the PDF to view pictures and information for all of the competitors.

Scoring Criteria

The following scoring criteria reflect in large part the Blues Foundation recommendations as they apply to the International Blues Challenge. The criteria include Blues Content, Originality, Vocals, Instrumental Talent, and Stage Presence.

  1. Blues Content (weight of 4):
    The sound and feel of the music should be true to any of blues sub-categories: traditional blues, country blues, soul blues, blues rock and/or contemporary blues. Judges will be listening for inspired and original song selections or new takes on blues standards. Creative reach is encouraged.  

  2. Originality (weight of 3):  
    Original work is encouraged. Cover tunes are allowed but playing the recorded rendition lick by lick is discouraged; will not be looked upon favorably by the judges; and will be reflected in scoring. Acts must indicate if their songs are their own original material (this can be done at the start of the set or before each song as appropriate) and/or identify the covers that they are playing and acknowledge the originator.

  3. Vocals (weight of 2):
    The act’s vocal skills, to include concepts of tone, musicality, meaning, and expression.

  4. Instrumental Talent (weight of 2): 
    Ability level on all instruments featured within the act.

  5. Stage Presence (weight of 2): 
    The ability to command the attention of the audience by the impressiveness of one’s manner and appearance on stage. Judges will consider how an act connects with and engages the audience in the music. Proper use of microphones and amplification will be considered. 


Band Sets
Each band/solo-duo typically has thirty (30) minutes to perform its selections at the IBC. There will be a 7-minute changeover period between sets. If a band exceeds the 30-minute performance time or the 7-minute changeover a penalty may apply. Similarly, penalties are applied at the DCBS competition for failure to adhere to time constraints. 

Weighted Scoring
To reflect the relative importance of each of the criteria,  a band's raw score in each category is weighted. Raw scores for Blues Content are multiplied by four. Originality is multiplied by three. Vocals, Instrumental Talent, and Stage Presence are multiplied by two each. The total in each category represents the Weighted Score for that category. Total possible weighted score is 130. DCBS will not use the IBC ranking calculations. The band with the highest sum of Net Weighted Scores is the winner.


Penalty Points 
A Band is penalized one point from its Total Weighted Score (see below) for each ten seconds that it runs overtime. The same penalty also applies to exceeding the 7-minute changeover period. [If the preceding band takes more than five minutes to clear the stage, the oncoming band will not be penalized.] At the DCBS competition, there is no penalty for using less than the allotted time. However, there is such a penalty at the IBC and there are additional reasons for penalties there as well. 



Here is the scoring procedure for the DCBS Battle of the Bands and Solo-Duo Competition:

  1. All categories and weightings are as previously stated. 

  2. Each judge will indicate his or her Raw Score for each criteria, which will be a whole number between 1 (lowest) and 10 (highest, i.e., typical of those who play the main stage at major festivals).  Those scores will be turned over to the scorekeeper. Judges will not weight scores. 

  3. The scorekeeper will multiply the Raw Score in each category by the established multiplier (weight) to get each judge's Weighted Score in each category for each act. 

  4. The Weighted Scores from each category for an act are added together to determine the act’s Total Weighted Score for each judge. 

  5. Any penalty points will then be deducted to obtain the act's Net Weighted Score.

  6. The band with the highest Net Weighted Score wins.

In case of a tie, the band that has the highest weighted score in the Blues Content category will be declared the winner. If a tie remains, the scorekeeper shall calculate the sum of all Total Weighted Scores from all judges for the tied acts. The band with the higher sum of Total Weighted Scores wins.

Visit the for more information on the IBC.


* If no one is a DCBS member, please visit to join online or to download the Membership form.  

* The DC Blues Society is a Blues Foundation affiliate. The International Blues Challenge (IBC) is restricted to acts sponsored by a Blues Foundation affiliate.

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