This initial stage of the process to select the final nominees in the FORM UKBlues Awards comprised a nomination panel of more than 350 people from across the blues spectrum in the UK, being invited to select three UK based acts for each award category. The panel members were asked to submit their choices in order of preference (first, second, third) with points being awarded according to the position in which the acts were placed by the panel members.
The top five acts for each of the categories have now been selected as category finalists and entered into a public voting process to select the winners and runners-up in each category.
The 4 regional categories (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) each had specific nomination panels comprising people resident in the specific region and followed the same nomination process but restricted to acts from the specific region.
The nomination panel was comprised of all members of the UKBlues Federation as at 1st December 2017, radio presenters, including the members of the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association, festival and gig promoters, writers (both online and print media), musicians, fans and blues supporters etc.
No member of the Board of the UKBlues Federation was permitted to nominate for the FORM UKBlues Awards categories covered by this nomination process other than the award for Innovation in the Blues in the UK.
An open invitation was issued to anyone who wanted to be included in the nomination panel to apply to be included, an offer which a good number of people took up. In addition, the Blues Venue of the Year category was open to the public to submit nominations.