THERE IS comfort in PDX Pop Now! For eight years now, it's become a landmark of Portland summers—days and nights spent watching countless bands blurring into each other, seas of wide-eyed youthful music fans taking it all in, and those unforgettable nighttime bicycle rides home with way too many songs to remember rattling around in your head.
The concept of a totally all-ages, and totally free, local music festival is deceptively simple, but the blunt reality of booking, maintaining, and improving upon this annual festival with an all-volunteer staff is a staggering feat. Yet PDX Pop Now! has gracefully improved with each passing year, showcasing not only the bevy of local talent that calls Portland home, but also the unselfish nature of the volunteers, tireless behind-the-scenes workers and bands willing to sacrifice guarantees in order to be part of this event. This not-for-profit organization has seamlessly evolved and this year marks yet another change: a new venue.
Refuge is tucked away in the Southeast industrial district with a pair of stages (one indoor, one outside) and it will host a diverse lineup that quite literally has something for everyone (from classical music to hiphop to metal to good old-fashioned rock and roll).
In lieu of yet another band-by-band rundown—basically the same article we've run on the festival since its humble inception at the Meow Meow in 2004—we decided to visualize the sheer number of components involved in making PDX Pop Now! the highlight of our summer.
Illustrations by Bethany Ng