Friday, December 15, 2017

Vinyl lovers come together at Victoria record fair

October 19, 2016 by Adam Marsh, student editor

It might seem hard to believe, but there is a demographic of people who don’t open MP3 files to listen to music. Instead, they prefer to listen to tunes the old-fashioned, tangible way: on vinyl.

Ryan Wugalter, organizer of Vinyl Supernova—a large record fair happening on October 22—says that there will be more records for sale this time around because he is using both floors of Fernwood Community Centre rather than just one.

“Last time we had kind of a maker’s market in the upstairs space, and I found that people who come to the event were not really interested in those kinds of things; they just wanted more music, more records,” he says.

Wugalter says that vinyl sales have been on the rise in the last five to 10 years, and that listening to an album from start to finish—rather than just one or two songs on YouTube or iTunes—is the only way to get the full artistic experience.

A scene from the last Vinyl Supernova record fair, held in Fernwood (photo provided).

A scene from the last Vinyl Supernova record fair, held in Fernwood (photo provided).

“If you put on an album, you’re at least invested for the full side, and I like that,” he says. “Most artists compile their albums as a listening experience.”

Listening to the full story of the album, says Wugalter, allows appreciation of all the elements that go into it.

“I always loved looking at the artwork, and poring over the lyrics, and anything else that the artists included in their album,” he says. “With the LPs, of course, the art is so much bigger, so it’s more to get lost in.”

Wugalter says that he enjoys watching the wide array of people who come to Vinyl Supernova, from youngsters clutching lists of classic, must-have albums in their hands to seasoned veterans looking to get their hands on something a little more esoteric.

“People who are newer into record collecting are still looking to get all the Beatles albums, or all the David Bowie albums, or all the Neil Young records,” he says. “I usually peruse at each vendor’s table and if something strikes me, I’m like, ‘Oh, that looks interesting,’ and I’ll pick it up.”

Wugalter says that he reserved 25 percent of the tables for new vendors to help ensure a solid turnover from last year so that people can keep picking up new material.

“I was kind of fearing that the event might get a little bit stale with having the same sellers coming all the time; a lot of the sellers are serious collectors who buy and sell all the time, so they always have new stuff anyway.”

One face at Vinyl Supernova will look familiar if you’ve strolled the Inner Harbour at some point in your life. If you heard a man playing more instruments than it seems possible for one person to play, there’s a good chance it was the music of Dave Harris filling your ears; Harris is known throughout Victoria as the One Man Band. Originally from Toronto, Harris, who will be selling blues albums at the record fair, says that his passion for vinyl began when he was 14.

“My dad used to buy classical and folk records down at Sam the Record Man in downtown Toronto,” he says, “and that’s how it started for me.”

Harris says that vinyl sales are rising because of “some backlash to the low quality of MP3s.”

“There’s something to be said for having a nice piece of physical vinyl in your hand,” he says, although he says that “the resurgence is still pretty small, comparatively.”

Harris—whose personal collection of records numbers over 10,000—says that he loves the feeling in the crowd at Vinyl Supernova and adds that the Fernwood Community Centre has a really great atmosphere in it when the fair is happening.

“Twice a year, we all get together, and it’s kind of like a bit of a party in a way,” he says. “The camaraderie is really good; there’s a nice feeling in the room.”

Vinyl Supernova
10 am to 4 pm Saturday, October 22
$2, Fernwood Community Centre

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