About Us

HISTORY

Founded in 1992, the Blues Society of Western New York (BSWNY) is a not-for-profit organization under article 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service, and is affiliated with the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee.
Considering that the genre of blues music has influenced jazz, rhythm and blues, rock ‘n roll, funk and hip hop, it is not surprising that the BSWNY has had such success in influencing musicians of all ages.
The Blues Society of Western New York was the 2012 recipient of the “Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA)” Award from the International Blues Foundation.  

OUR MISSION

To preserve and support the blues music genre through educational endeavors and promotional events.

EDUCATION

Blues in the Schools (BITS)
Reaching over 20,000 students to date, the BITS education program introduces the blues to students and staff, from pre-K to college level.  Programs are designed to be interactive, vary from interdisciplinary groups to classrooms, and range from concert assemblies and lectures to storytelling, lyric writing and history discovery.
Workshops give students an opportunity to build and/or play musical instruments.  Programs can be aligned to school curriculum and are presented by local professional musical educators.
Community Outreach and Cultural Programs
Workshops, musical performances, and musical experiences are presented as a therapeutic vehicle to rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, prisons, youth camps, senior facilities, and more.  
Programs are tailored to the specific audience, presented by professionals, and coordinated by both our Education Committee and the individual agency.

Youth Mentoring

This free monthly program provides an opportunity for youth under the age of 21 to learn and perform the blues with some of the area’s top musicians in an environment conducive to learning.


PROGRAMS and EVENTS 

Am Jam 
A monthly gathering offering amateurs of all ages a unique opportunity to perform and learn from professional musicians in a performance environment.

Blues Cruise
Our annual summertime Blues Cruise on the Miss Buffalo, featuring local musicians, provides an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Buffalo River.

Blue Thursday
A monthly fun, free event hosted every second Thursday from October to May, featuring local blues bands while serving as our society member meeting when there is business to conduct.  Open to anyone and everyone.

Memphis-Bound Competition

An annual challenge to find exceptional local blues talent to represent Western New York at the Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennesee.  This event has evolved into the nation’s biggest and most respected showcase for blues musicians who are ready to take their act to the national stage.

Buffalo Niagara Blues Festival

Western New York’s only all-national blues festival brings thousands to Buffalo from the U.S. and Canada.  Held at the historic grain elevators at Silo City, the Blues Society of WNY is proud to be a part of Buffalo’s resurgence.