Pop Mic conference encourages musicians

by Jared Curtis

For the past five years, Western Washington’s Associated Student Productions Pop Music has been providing students and the public a chance to learn about the state of the music scene with PopMIC. Attendees get a lesson about the musical community of Bellingham and how to get involved. And although it takes place on campus, the public is encouraged to sit in on this discussion.
“Bellingham is a perfect fit for PopMIC because it is a very community-focused town filled with lots of people who care about music, and lots of people who want to be involved with music,” said Caitlyn Glinski, co-director of the committee. “If someone wants to get involved with music, Bellingham is a great place to start because it’s big enough to have an awesome music scene, yet small enough that you can find your way by volunteering or even starting your own thing. Even though the community is very supportive, you still need to know how the industry works and how to take the next step — which is why PopMIC is the perfect learning experience.”
PopMIC serves as an opportunity for students and community members to network with and learn from music industry professionals outside of the business world. It is a chance for people with all levels of experience and all areas of interest to connect and have a conversation about music both as an art form and an industry.
“The conference started because there is no music industry or productions major at Western, and it’s something that a lot of people want to learn about,” Glinski said. “Our goal is for people to learn everything they need to get started or move forward in any aspect of the music industry they are interested in by connecting with the professionals we bring to the conference.”
The event kicks off at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, with brunch (10 a.m.) followed by the keynote address by Sean Nelson, co-owner of Barsuk Records. A number of panels take place throughout the day covering a wide variety of musical related topics including music journalism, touring, getting started as an artist, music and meaning as well as event planning. Attendees will also get a chance to connect with people at the conference and learn about what opportunities are available in their field.
“Attendance has grown over the years and we usually bring in more than 100 people,” Glinski said. “This year we’re hoping to get a much larger number of people to attend, which could help expand the event in the future.”
Speaking of expanding, the event itself has added some new elements over past years.
“One of the new things we’ve added is the expo-style networking time in the middle of the day. Different venues and music-related organizations will be tabling, which provides attendees with more information and opportunities for getting involved right here in Bellingham,” Glinski said. “Another new component we have is Project Pitch. This is a chance for anyone who has some kind of music related project (such as a new band or an EP) to present their work or idea to a panel of industry professionals and get 10 minutes of personalized advice from professionals.”
Anyone with a passion for music or an interest in any aspect of the music industry will be able to learn something new at PopMIC,” she said.
“No matter how much or little you already know, everyone will be able to get something practical and meaningful from the conversations and connections that take place at the conference.”
Tickets for the event are $10 advance for students and $20 for the public. Interested attendees can register and find more information at the event site, golkac.wix.com/aspopmic2014.