European Blues Challenge 2022: A successful event in Malmö (Sweden)

After having enjoyed the superb European Blues Challenge in the beautiful city of Malmö, our warmest gratitude to Malmö-Copenhagen Blues Connexion for their perfect, amazing organisation and for making us all feel welcome at the ever memorable Challenge, the first after the notorious worldwide pandemic.

European Blues Challenge 2022 Malmö Sweden

We all had a great opportunity to visit and enjoy the city of Malmö and, of course, meet many friends coming from all over Europe to enjoy friendship and great blues music. We experienced two unbelievable Blues Challenge nights with 23 high quality acts. We want to acknowledge all musicians for their professional commitment and excellence and congratulate the winners as well as all participating bands.
Here are some quotes received:

“Congratulations to the superb Harlem Lake from the Netherlands on being declared the winners of the European Blues Challenge 2022 in Malmö yesterday. Congratulations also go to Justina Lee Brown representing Switzerland (2nd) and Mingo Balaguer Álvarez, Sanpa and Bárez Bros from Spain (3rd). Congratulations go to The Achievers who represented the UK and won many new friends and fans. Well done to all involved, especially the organizers of the event and the European Blues Union under whose banner it took place. Roll on next year when I hope to catch up in Poland! European Blues Challenge 2023 (EBC 2023)” – Ashwyn Smyth (UK)
“We are very happy and proud to have won the third prize in the European Blues Challenge 2022. Our deepest thanks to all the people and organizations that have helped us in one way or another in this adventure and for the support received: AIE Sociedad de Artistas, Casa del Blues de Sevilla, Montse Pratdesaba, Roser Blues, European Blues Challenge 2022, European Blues Union and Societat de Blues de Barcelona.” – Mingo, Sanpa & Bárez Bros (Spain participant band)
“This has been a weekend of absolute magic! We wanna give a huge thanks to each and every one of you that has supported us on our musical journey so far. All in the Norwegian Blues community, Blues clubs, friends and fans. We are so very grateful to the Norwegian Blues Union (NBU) for allowing us to share their stand with us! And the whole European Blues Union to welcome us with open arms!!! We LOVE you!!!” – Reloaded Norway (Norway participant band)
“Greetings from Ireland. On behalf of the Crazycrow band from Ireland, I wish to extend our heartfelt thanks and warmest gratitude to The Swedish Blues Connexion and all the staff and officials for your kindness, courtesy, help and the consideration shown to us over the June weekend. Particular thanks to Helena for all her helpful correspondence prior to the Challenge and her warm and welcoming help and assistance. We love you. We would also like to commend the sound and stage officials. Their assistance and professionalism were second to none. Fantastic sound and stage set up. Congratulations on a fabulous concert and Blues Show. Please pass on to all concerned.” – Crazycrow (Ireland participant band)
“Goodbye Malmö, the future starts today… Unique experiences, added value within our reach, the world is our home! Thanks to our Dream Sessions represented by Renato Dias and Noelle Oliveira, for all the work developed in this participation in the EBC, without them it would be very difficult to have the conditions we had. Thanks also to Blues Portugal, represented by Dúlio Canário and Rui Guerreiro for all the support and advice, and to Adalberto Ribeiro for his wisdom, motivation, and shared experience. We are happier today than when we arrived in Malmö!” – Peter Storm & The Blues Society (Portugal participant band)
“A splendid week-end together with you and the rest of the European blues family.” – Gaute Taksdal (Norway)
“Here in Malmö it’s almost 11 o’clock pm and it’s just dusk. On the second night of the competition a lot of diverse great blues, the French and the Dutch excellent, voting at midnight. Bravo Malmö and the European Blues Union on a phenomenal organization. Keep the Blues Alive!!” – Boris Hrepic Hrepa (Croatia)

Local musicians as well as some musicians of EBC participating bands performed each day at lively jam sessions. Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado was the perfect event opening on Thursday night.

Foto EBC 2022 Thorbjorn Risager by Aigars Lapsa
Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado
Photo by Aigars Lapsa
Blues Jam At The European Blues Challenge EBC 2022 Malmö
Thursday Night Blues Jam
(Photo by Roser Blues)

With the Blues Behind the Scenes Awards there were recognized selected European individuals and organizations that have worked actively and made significant contributions to advance the Blues in Europe. This year the EBU awarded in the Media category Marino Grandi of Il Blues Magazine (Italy), published quarterly since 1982 (represented by his son Davide Grandi). Peter Astrup, Blues in Heaven Festival (Denmark) was awarded in the Production category and Filip Le Roy, Swing Wespelaar Festival (Belgium) was awarded in the Promotion category.

Blues Behind The Scenes 2022 Winners; Davide (Marino) Grandi, Filip Le Roy, Peter Astrup By Cristopher Losberger
2022 Blues Behind The Scenes Awards:
Marino Grandi, Il Blues Magazine (Italy) represented by his son Davide Grandi, Filip Le Roy, Swing Wespelaar Festival (Belgium) & Peter Astrup, Blues in Heaven Festival (Denmark)
(Photo by Christophe Losberger)

More than 30 tables were on display at the Blues Market, which provided once again a unique opportunity to meet after three long years to establish new contacts and strengthen earlier relationships.

Blues Market
(Photo by Sussie Umsari)

Although the pandemic had stopped most of the EBU regular actions, past EBU activities and new project ideas and initiatives were discussed during the EBU General Assembly

European Blues Union General Assembly 2022 in Malmö (Photo by Christopher Losberger)

EBU GA (Photos by Christopher Losberger)

European Blues Union General Assembly 2022 in Malmö (Photo by Christopher Losgberger)The GA ended with a toast to celebrate meeting each after three years!Toast after the European Blues Union General Assembly in Malmö 2022 (Photo Christopher Losberger)

Toast after the GA
(Photo by Christophe Losberger)

Again thank you to EBU Members and to the local organizers for the amazing organization of this memorable event!


23 amazing bands performed during the two EBC nights representing astonishingly high quality and professionalism. The Jury had a difficult task to select the winners because all them deserved to be winners!!

Congratulations to the EBC 2022 winners HARLEM LAKE BAND (Netherlands), JUSTINA LEE BROWN BAND (Switzerland), second place, MINGO, SANPA & BÁREZ BROS (Spain), third place.

Harlem Lake (Netherlands) Winners of European Blues Challenge EBC 2022 in Malmö. (Photo by Juha Seila

Harlem Lake Band, Netherlands, Winners of EBC 2022
(Photo by Juha Seila)
Justina Lee Brown Band (Switzerland), second place at the European Blues Challenge EBU 2022 in Malmö (Photo by Peter Kogoj)
Justina Lee Brown Band (Switzerland), second place at EBC 2022

(photo by Peter Kogoj)
Mingo, Sanpa & Bárez Bros, third place at the European Blues Union EBU 2022 in Malmö
Mingo, Sampa & Bárez Bros, third place at EBC 2022

Besides receiving this magnificent recognition, the winners are awarded performing at the following festivals:

• BB Blues Festival (Portugal)
• Gothenburg Blues Festival (Sweden), July
• Santa Maria Blues Festival (Azores Islands, Portugal), July
• Notodden Blues Festival (Norway), August
• Swing Wespelaar (Belgium), August
• Blues in the Garden (Romania), end August
• Blues in Hell (Norway), September
• Lucerne Blues Festival (Switzerland), mid-November
• Blues Alive Festival (Czech Rep), mid-November

Awarding Festivals for the Winners of European Blues Challenge 2022
With the amazing time spent in Malmö still in our minds, we are already looking forward to the next year Challenge in Chorzow, Poland!