Every May and November, down just off of 17th and Main, a weathered, aged building comes alive with the fervor of music-lovers and the distinct vinyl sound of their passion. The oddly appealing scent of burgers, veggie dogs and tea guide the steps towards the front, a cheery man with a warm smile takes entrance fee just before the bustle of the market. From all the far reaches of the city come kindred spirits and like-minded souls in a brief but bright celebration of one of the oldest forms of audio recordings -the vinyl record.
Held twice a year, in May and November, the Main Street Vinyl Record Fair is a twice annual convention at The Cambrian Hall. Uniting record stores across the city, the Record Fair spans two days, thousands of records, and over 40 vendors, making it among the largest of its kind on Vancouver.
Wellstocked and rich in popular titles, the Record Fair is perfect for both the cautious newbie and the seasoned collector. Iconic classics find themselves side by side with uncommon titles, and well loved hand-me-downs beside current pop hits in this astounding collection of vinyl. As each vendor was only permitted one table, the selection was ensured to be only the best. Vendors included the popular stores Red Cat Records, Vinyl Records,SCRAPE records, Zulu Records, Dandelion Records & Emporium, Highlife Records, Neptoon Records, Beat Street Records, Music MadHouse Records and the Beat Merchant, as well as independent vendors selling out of their personal collections.
Selection as well as prices varied largely, from ‘50s big names to ‘90s underground to ‘60s classic rock to everything in between, and from $5.00 boxes to $50.00 collectors editions. Sighted were new release sections, mint conditions and probably every big name in the industry.
After wandering around the vendors and enthusiasts, the Record Fair begins to feel less of a market and more of a music cultural celebration. There are no strangers here. Friendly first time conversations were as common as Beatles records and intelligent discussion littered the room. A strange sense of camaraderie was felt with such a diverse collection of people coming together, reminded of the music that this is all about. The tracks spun by the Knights of the Turntable set the mood of the visit rightly, blending soothing tones with lively rhythms, creating a soundtrack perfect for fans of all genres.
Ultimately, the Record Fair is a brilliant way to spend that May or November afternoon. Immerse oneself in the culture, whether you own a hundred records or not even a turntable. In the weathered walls of Cambrian Hall, everyone becomes an enthusiast, even just for an hour. Stock up on dozens or buy your very first, just join the fun, step into the market and celebrate the timeless medium of the vinyl record.