Phil Barnes

Fort Lauderdale musician Phil Barnes will host and perform at all four Summer Soundtrack shows in August. The weekly series will present local musicians at pop-up concerts throughout the city. (Phil Barnes/Courtesy / August 5, 2014)

You know who's playing. You know the time. But the location is a mystery.

That's the thinking behind the Summer Soundtrack weekly pop-up concert series, which will feature local musicians at 8 p.m. Thursdays in August in Fort Lauderdale. The locations will be revealed only after you RSVP.

The organizers' goal: to grow South Florida's music scene.

"I've got this belief that South Florida is a lot like New York," says folk musician Phil Barnes, of Fort Lauderdale. "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere."


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Barnes will host and perform at all four concerts, accompanied by different local bands and solo artists. On Thursday, he'll perform with -KIDS-, an indie rock band. The first 100 people who RSVP through email will receive an invitation to the show, which will also feature free drinks. Goddamn Hustle, Carly Jo Jackson and Forlorn Strangers will perform at subsequent concerts.

Josh Miller, co-creator of the series, says there's plenty of talented musicians here, but they often move to cities with bigger music scenes, such as Nashville, Los Angeles and New York.

"Some of the greatest bands nobody knows about, because nobody is going to watch them play," says Miller, who's also the executive director of C&I Studios in Fort Lauderdale. "That's the type of bands that will go and move to L.A., and they'll get ridiculously famous and they're from here."

So he decided to make it his job to keep those talents here, starting with the Summer Soundtrack.

"It will never change unless we start doing something, so that's our attempt at doing something," Miller says. "We want to give people something different, surprise them."

Barnes experienced some of those difficulties firsthand, after he decided to quit Florida Atlantic University, where he was double-majoring in business and psychology, and live as a full-time musician. He says he played about 250 free performances before landing his first paying gig.

But he never thought of leaving his hometown.

"I love making it where I live," Barnes says. "The truth of it is that if you do it enough, and you get good at what you do, somebody is going to pay you to do it."

To RSVP for the Aug. 28 show, email rsvp@xpsdpr.com. For more on Summer Soundtrack, go to Facebook.com/FTLSummerSoundtrack.

bduarte@sunsentinel.com, @babicorb or 954-356-4710