The EMP Pop Conference is exactly what it sounds like: an annual conference about pop music that, up through last year, was held at Seattle's garish (but largely useless!) Experience Music Project. It gathers academics, critics, musicians, and other creative intellectual types together every year to deliver presentations and host discussions about music, popular and less so, each year centering around a broad theme, like technology or sex (this year: "Cash Rules Everything Around Me: Music and Money"). It's simply some of the best thinking about music you're going to find in one place all year; it's free; and until this year it's belonged to Seattle. After last year's conference, organizers announced that it was moving to L.A. this year, to be hosted by UCLA, and would in future years probably rotate from L.A. to NYC and back to Seattle. Today, music critic Michaelangelo Matos (formerly of Seattle Weekly, now also rotated to NYC and other places) posted a best-of recap of this year's inaugural L.A. conference on Flavorwire, and reading it really rubbed in how much it sucks to have lost this weird, nerdy, awesome event (imagine Comicon but with shittier costumes--jeans and black T-shirts, mostly).
Instead, the closest thing we have this weekend is WWU's Pop Mic Conference just out of town up in Bellingham. But it's barely even a baby version of Pop Conference--for one thing it's oriented towards business seminars, not academics, and for another thing it's much smaller and more local in scale. Still, if you want to sit in a conference room in Washington state and talk about the music business this weekend, it's pretty much your only option. Nuts.