PDXPOP Now! Spawned from an email list discussion, PDXPOP Now! is both a successful local music festival and CD compilation. This year's free concert series will run from Friday, August 19 to Sunday August 21 at Loveland. One of the group's organizers, Cary Clarke, explains what PDXPOP Now! is about and how local music fans and bands can take part.

For those unaware, can you explain what PDXPOP Now! is all about?

PDXPOP Now! is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to celebrating the astoundingly prodigious and diverse musical community of Portland, as well as developing the relationship of Portland's music-makers with both fans and the community at large. Thus far, we've furthered these goals by putting on a three-day, free, all-ages festival of local music last summer, as well as by releasing a two-disc compilation of Portland music.

Was the success of last year's event a surprise?

As much of a clich as it sounds, the festival and compilation were successful beyond our wildest dreams. The weekend felt like all of the best parts of summer camp, and for the first time since I came to Portland, I felt the strong sense of community I came here looking for.

Who decides what bands play?

The booking and compilation decisions are made by Team PDXPOP Now! based largely upon the results of a public voting system. In an effort to get away from the extreme and often uninteresting subjectivity that curated festivals suffer from, we decided to let Portland pick its own lineup. We invite anyone to submit via email (nominations@pdxpopnow.com) the name of a musician or band to be included on the voting ballot. We are also still accepting submissions for the PDXPOP Now! 2005 compilation through the end of this week (March 18) and heartily encourage anyone and everyone to send us what you've got. Don't be bashful! We are anxious to hear it! You can check out www.pdxpopnow.com for more information.

Certain genres (namely hiphop) where absent from last year's fest, do you have any plans to remedy that this year?

One criticism of last year's PDXPOP Now! festival and compilation was that we could have had a more diverse selection of genres. We'd love not only to see a greater diversity in this year's PDXPOP in terms of genre, but in terms of age as well. Musicians and music fans out there--help us by getting in touch with us, submitting, and becoming involved. I'd love to see a PDXPOP Now! that includes marching bands, DJs, contemporary classical string ensembles, hiphop groups, oldtime tincan bands, and guitar experimentalists. We want it all as long as it's PDX and it's happening now!