By Chris Fish
COCOA BEACH - Cocoa Beach musician "Sunnyland Steve" Burchfield will be competing at the 29th International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., Jan. 31-Feb. 2 of next year
The event is the world's largest gathering of blues musicians from around the world, who will compete for a cash prize and industry recognition.
Mr. Burchfield qualified for the national competition after he placed first last week in the 26th Annual Carolina Blues Festival in Greensboro, NC.
The event was sponsored by the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society. By winning the competition, Mr. Burchfield will represent the society at the international competition, consisting of more than 200 blues acts, representing numerous countries.
"It's a great honor to go to the competition," Mr. Burchfield said. "I entered the competition in Greensboro nearly 20 years ago and didn't win. I cried and got over it and kept playing blues."
Originally from Greensboro, Mr. Burchfield moved to Cocoa Beach in 2000. He began playing music at the age of 12, and can now play the banjo, six and 12-string guitars, mandolin, bass and the drums.
Mr. Burchfield said the blues competition, held in Greensboro, is a competitive one with a lot of great blues musicians.
"The level of musicianship is high there," he said. "If you win, it is a real good indicator that you are doing something right."
By the end of the year and early January 2013, Mr. Burchfield said he will be playing at the Beach Shack in Cocoa Beach to help raise money for his trip to the international competition in Memphis. He also said the Beach Shack will be hosting a fundraiser to help raise money for the trip, too.
For more information about "Sunnyland Steve," visit his Myspace page at www.myspace.com/sunnylandsteve.