As a part of the Charleston Music Confab, a small record fair was held at the Charleston Music Hall on Saturday, Sept. 2. Representatives from three different local vendors set up their tables upstairs at the Music Hall for collectors and music lovers alike to sort through their boxes upon boxes of vinyl. This event was for everyone; guests ranged in age from three to 90. From the budding collectors to those in the business for years, there was a little something for everyone.
The best part about this event was not the vinyl itself, but the collectors that wandered in and out during the day. One gentleman said he owned over 3,600 records and over 5,000 45’s. In his opinion, the best places to find good records are thrift shops and small record fairs like this one.
Though the fair was small, the vibe at the event was so relaxed and inviting that everyone felt at home. The vendors were extremely polite and enthusiastic; the table for a downtown record shop, the Vinyl Countdown, eagerly helped guests find what they were looking for.
Dave Stewart, part of the Confab and associated with The Music Hall, said that the Confab was supposed to be “similar to South by Southwest.” He spoke about the unsigned artists playing at the Confab and explained that it wasn’t about getting signed, but instead about networking and meeting people in the business. “There are no overnight sensations anymore,” Stewart said. The record fair was just a small piece in a much bigger musical puzzle.
The whole idea behind a record fair is the hope in finding a hidden gem amongst the Pat Boone and Partridge Family type junk. One man said that he had been collecting for 51 years, and that he “couldn’t be separated from them [his records].” He spoke of a time when a new record was four dollars and L.P.’s were a mere 88 cents.
The record fair brought with it an air of nostalgia and remembrance of the good ol’ days. The palpable energy of a room full of people all with the same hope is invigorating. The thought was reverberating around the room from one person to the next — will I find that perfect record?
The old adage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” rang true at the record fair this weekend. What many people might have looked at as useless or without value, others now cherish. That’s the real beauty in an event like the record fair— finding those little hidden treasures in life make it worth living. Thanks to the Charleston Music Confab and the Charleston Music Hall, as well as the vendors from the fair, the city of Charleston is now better educated in the art form that is vinyl.