Maintenance by IEBS
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8 Inland Empire Blues Society

Empire Awards

Ballot, Eligibility & Event Rules

IEBS Empire Award Rules will be posted online at our website, and a notice will also appear in the appropriate newsletters saying that our Nomination and Voting Rules can be viewed on our website.

All nominations in any category must be from our Inland Empire area, which is loosely described as Inland Empire and includes all of Washington east of the Cascades, northern parts of Oregon also east of the Cascades, North Idaho, Western Montana, and Southern British Columbia, Canada. A small map of this area shall appear in our July and August Issues of our newsletter as a guide for Member’s nominations. This keeps it to our area and for example, excludes musicians from elsewhere and the big names of national touring acts.

Nominations of artists, venues, events, and other individuals must reflect those that were active within our current award year, which runs from October of the previous year, when voting ended for that year, and through September of the following year when voting for that year will end.

Nominations ballots shall be available from July 1st through August 15th and shall appear in our publications of Inside Blues for July and August of the year to which they pertain. Voting ballots shall appear in the September issue of our newsletter, with voting occurring September 1st through September 30th. Articles in our newsletter explaining nominating and voting shall accompany all ballots, inclusive of any new rules pertinent or changes in the ballots from the prior year. A list of those ineligible for nomination will also appear in the July & August issues, and those will include those currently Empire Award Hall of Fame, along with when they will again become eligible unless they are in our Empire Award Permanent Hall of Fame.

To nominate and to vote, all participants must be members in good standing of the Inland Empire Blues Society. That means their membership must be paid up to date in the months they are nominating and/or voting, and each ballot must have the voting IEBS Member’s name on either the front or back. New memberships and renewals can accompany a ballot. Only one vote per member is allowed. Ballots can be returned to the Inland Empire Blues Society within the stated time, either by US Postal Service, dedicated fax line, or by email, all of which are described in detail each year in the appropriate monthly newsletters accompanying the ballots. Ballots will be verified by the person in charge of IEBS Memberships, then stored in a large envelope until counted.

Tabulation of nomination ballots will take place shortly after August 15th and before August 19th, allowing time to prepare a Voting Ballot for our newsletter. Voting ballots will be tabulated after September 30th and before October 10th, allowing time for Awards to be ordered and completed. Two tabulators are needed for each tabulation, and they must be Members of the Inland Empire Blues Society in good standing whose names do not appear on the ballot, and they will adhere to all rules for the nominating and voting processes. Tabulators will be different individuals for the nominating and for the voting processes. A Nomination Mediator who is familiar with IEBS rules and nominees from our Inland Empire area may, by request of the tabulators, sit in on the Nomination Process, but the mediator must only state the rules and not affect the Nomination Process. All ballots and tabulation sheets shall be held for a period of five years, after which they can be destroyed.

Categories on our Nomination Ballot must be adhered to for the nomination to count. Musicians must qualify for the category for which they are nominated. We realize that not all Members know the names of all musicians, and in such cases Members shall be allowed to write in the name of the instrument played along with the band name, and our Nomination Mediator will figure out the actual name of the person and allow the affected change to the Nomination Tabulation. To qualify for a category, all musicians must play the instrument for the category and have appeared in public professionally playing their instrument and be known as a player of that particular instrument: For example, if the nomination is for Best Female Vocalist and the name of a male singer is written into that category on a nomination ballot, then that nomination in that category would not be applicable. For slide guitar, for example, the guitar player must actually play slide guitar and be professionally known for that particular aspect of guitar playing. In the category, Best Instrumentalist (other) means that the nominee must play an instrument for which there is no other category, like bassist, drummer, harmonica player, or guitarist. It usually means horn players, but not always, as lap steel and any other instrument might be included.

All bands and performers eligible for nomination must professionally play blues content during, at least, part of their live performances, and not generally considered to be a classic rock band, a country band, a bluegrass band, or any other band that does not include blues music in their live performances.

There are categories for Best Blues Event Non-Festival and Best Ongoing Blues Event which have sometimes confused nominators. Best Blues Event happens only once in a calendar year, and Best Ongoing Blues Event happens at least once a month for most months of the year. For example, a jam may shut down for the winter months, but if it happens all other times of the year, the event would still be eligible in the Best Ongoing Event category.

The Empire Award Hall of Fame includes performers, bands, events, venues, and other individuals who have won in a particular category for three years in a row. They then become ineligible to win in that category for another three years, at which time they can again win. A special award shall be presented to Hall of Fame winners, and permanent Hall of Fame winners will continue to have their name posted in our Newsletter every nomination year. They will also be posted online so they can easily be looked up. A list of winners, dating back to include all winners of our Empire Awards, will be kept as a permanent part of the Records of the Inland Empire Blues Society. Individuals who have been in our Hall of Fame twice shall be no longer eligible to win anything and shall be considered retired to our Permanent Hall of Fame. Also in our Permanent Hall of Fame are individuals or groups who have won seven times in their category, thereby becoming ineligible to win another IEBS Empire Award. These individuals will also be posted in our newsletter each year, recognized as being in our Permanent Hall of Fame.

For the nomination process, the Best New Blues Band for the Best New Blues Band Award is any band of professional musicians that within two years prior to the nomination process has either changed its name and also two players or a band that has the same name but has changed at least two players within the band. The band winner in this category the previous year may not appear on the ballot the next year. Bands may appear as Best Band or Best New Band, but not in both categories. If they have enough nomination votes to allow them to appear on the voting ballot as Best Blues Band, they then become ineligible for the Best New Blues Band category.

To keep nominations to our area and not show favoritism, bands from out of our area who are not eligible for nomination will be hired for our Blues Boogies during the months of July and August, which covers our Nomination Period. That way, members attending this event do not see an eligible band at our Blues Boogie and write them onto the nomination ballot.

Venues eligible for an award must have blues music as a part of their presentations.

All changes to our voting process and Hall of Fame eligibility must be approved by our Inland Empire Blues Society Board of Directors. New categories can be proposed by any Member who has an idea that we should add a category. The category must then be voted upon by the Board of Directors to verify that it should appear on the ballots. Categories may be renamed to include the name of an individual who has been in our Hall of Fame at least twice and shown outstanding ability in his or her category. To rename a category requires approval by our Board of Directors, and the renaming of a category may not be permanent. For example, if another period of time goes by and another individual becomes eligible, then the prior name would be replaced by the incoming name. For example, the name of Ted Todd was added to our Keeping the Blues Alive Award, which names a person who has shown outstanding achievement in this endeavor; it is currently the Ted Todd Keeping the Blues Alive Award. It is not necessary that any category be renamed, and it is up to the discretion of the Board.

In addition to our Empire Award which is voted, the Musician’ Choice Award is voted by a group of professional musicians and is awarded to a musician who, although worthy, has not previously won in any category. It is considered part of our Empire Awards. What is considered not part of our Awards is any other organization who would wish to present any award on behalf of their organization as part of our Empire Awards Ceremony.

IEBS also has a Special Award, which is given to individuals who have shown outstanding involvement with the blues, but are not on our ballot. This award is not given out annually, and if it is given out at all, the merit of the individual must be presented to our Board of Directors, who will vote on the giving out of this Special Award.

Sponsorship for our Empire Awards will be available, with the amount set at $100.00 payment as a donation or at least $100.00 in-kind trade payment, which does not include as trade volunteer work for our Society. The Sponsor and one guest will then be allowed to attend free of charge and the Sponsor will be allowed to choose the category they would like to sponsor, provided it is not already taken by another sponsor, and they shall be allowed to present the award to the winner of their chosen category during our Awards Presentations in November.

For our Awards Event, there shall be at least two people in charge who will make preparations for the show and attend the Show and make sure all is in place till the completion of the Awards Event. This includes all preparations including finding the entertainment and obtaining a vote of the Board of Directors for hiring said entertainment, making sure votes are tabulated, nominee letters sent to nominees, procuring the actual Awards and wrapping and labeling them, preparing the Master of Ceremonies key and cards which go on the awards, making sure the Awards and all supplies necessary to have our Awards Event are delivered to our event in a timely manner, preparing a guest list, finding volunteers which include a Door Greeter, two Cashiers, two Arm Banding persons (two of each so that there is a relief person in each position), a Master of Ceremonies, two award presenters, and personnel for an IEBS Products Table which will sell artist cd’s and other products normally allowed in our Blues Booth, and afterwards counting the funds from ticket sales after the event and anything else pertaining to our Awards Event. The people in charge will make sure all volunteers can be available when they need to be and explain the jobs to the volunteers. All volunteers working at the show will obtain free admission as a guest and wear a gold arm band. All IEBS Members who pay the member admission shall wear one color of arm band and all non-members who pay full admission shall wear a different color arm band. Anyone interested in volunteering for this event should use the contacts on the back of our newsletter “Inside Blues”