Following our announcement in late September that the UK Blues Federation was launching the FORM UKBlues Awards commencing in 2018, there have been a number of questions that have been raised and equally a number of misconceptions to which UKBlues is keen to respond and to provide clarification.
So UKBlues is taking over the British Blues Awards?
Emphatically no! The FORM UKBlues Awards (UKBAs) are entirely new and there is no connection between them and the British Blues Awards (BBAs). There may be some overlap in the award categories but that is almost inevitable. Equally, there is a new look to many award categories including some different, fresh ones.
What about awards for 2016?
The FORM UKBlues Awards will be recognising the year 2017.
It is not our intention to plug the hole left by there having been no blues awards for 2016, nor is this something we consider is practicable.
The FORTM UKBlues Awards are something completely new and fresh. They are not simply a copy of what may have taken place in previous years. There will some new and different categories and some categories which may have appeared in the past will not appear in the UKBAs.
Why set up an Awards when the BBAs are doing it?
In early 2017 the organisers of the BBAs announced that there would be no awards in 2017 as a result of various technical issues and attempts by certain individuals to ‘fix’ the voting.
The UKBlues Federation, along with many others in the blues community recognised the work that had been done by the BBA team but also felt that blues in the UK deserved to have a higher profile awards scheme that would recognise the achievements of those involved with the blues in the UK and respond to the many demands for an Awards process that enjoyed the confidence of the UK blues community.
In the absence of any indications that the BBAs would be resurrected and with it being clear from discussions that many felt that the UKBlues Federation was the right vehicle to organize and run such Awards, the UKBlues Federation decided to launch the UKBAs.
Why not work with the BBAs?
The UKBlues Federation approached the organisers of the BBAs on several occasions proposing a co-operative approach, offering to assist with the BBAs and, ultimately, inviting the organisers of the BBAs to become involved with the UKBAs.
All these approaches were, effectively, rebuffed so UKBlues felt there was little or no option other than to proceed with the UKBAs regardless of what the BBA team may have planned for the future.
Should there be two blues awards schemes in the UK?
No, probably not. But the UKBlues Federation took the decision to create the UKBAs against a background of there being no awards in 2017 and no indications that there would be any awards in the future.
We feel that blues in the UK deserves a high quality, professionally organised awards scheme and an awards ceremony that can act as a showcase for blues in the UK and is something of which the UK blues community can be proud.
One has only to look at the awards for other genres of music such as Americana and Folk to see what can be achieved and this is what we believe we should strive to achieve for the blues.