There’s nothing like removing a vinyl record from its sleeve, placing it on a turntable, cleaning it with your Discwasher, and then carefully lowering the needle and hearing that familiar hiss before your speakers fill with full, rich, analog sounds. If you think your Mp3 track of The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love” sounds good, you ain’t heard nothing yet! It’s the difference between a kid on kazoo and a world-class symphony. Whether you’re a longtime collector or deciding to get into vinyl for the first time, the place to be this Saturday, Nov. 7, is the SLO Record Swap at the SLO Grange Hall, where vendors, collectors, and music lovers will meet from noon to 5 p.m. to enjoy all things vinyl. New Times spoke to event co-founder Manuel Barba, who along with Malik Miko Thorne organized this weekend’s third record swap.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF MANUEL BARBA
- RECORD LOVERS UNITE!: Check out the SLO Record Swap on Nov. 7 in the SLO Grange Hall, complete with a beer garden, food vendors, live DJs, and live painting.
New Times Vinyl’s made something of a comeback. Any theories on why it’s hot again?
Manuel Barba I think music hits a nerve with an amazing percentage of people. From Sinatra to the Beatles to Rihanna, people respond to music in a very visceral way, and I think this return of a tactile and analog medium syncs better to that feeling. As consumers, we lost some of that connection with our music and things like liner notes, artwork, information on production, who played on what, etc. A downloaded track to your phone is only one piece of that puzzle, and so now it seems like folks again want to know more about their music and make that physical connection doing it. Plus, we just think it sounds better.
NT We’ve got two pretty great record stores in town, not to mention that dude who sells records out of his sports memorabilia store. What made you think a Record Swap was needed?
MB It’s basically a community event, just like a concert. We’ve been to record swaps outside the area and wanted to have one in SLO. Music has so many micro-cultures and tribes—this is just another way for dealers and collectors to find one another and get excited over music. This for us is the biggest aspect of what we do. For a millennia, music, we can assume, was the great constant, bringing tribes of people together or tearing them apart. We like the former and believe strongly in this wonderful community within which we live. We have always viewed San Luis as a vinyl-conscious community and felt like an event like this would be well received. For us, music goes better with people. As you mentioned, we are lucky to have such great options for music in this town and we are honored by our ongoing partnership with Boo Boo Records, who have supported this vision of ours since day uno.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF MANUEL BARBA
NT As a frequent visitor to the SLO Swap Meet, I see used vinyl all the time, and it’s mostly classic rock—the sort of records everyone already has. What’s the selection been like at the first two record swaps? What do you expect this time around?
MB The range has been amazing. One of our vendors sells at all the major California soul and blues festivals. He had everything from New Orleans zydeco to Chicano rock 45s. Someone else collected and sold European prog rock. There was a picture sleeve 45 vendor, a few punk and garage rock aficionados, and plenty with loads of used vintage vinyl. We do take some steps to vet our vendors so that our event doesn’t quite have the feel of a swap meet. We search hard for a range of folks who can provide a diverse experience for our guests, and we look for those vendors who know what fair pricing means. If something is rare, sell it as such, we encourage that ... but just because you have a Beatles record, or Elvis, doesn’t mean it’s worth a thousand dollars. Our feedback from guests in this area has been overwhelmingly positive, so we feel like we’re really meeting the expectations of our patrons.
NT Can people just show up with records and trade with people, or do dealers have to buy space, etc.?
MB Dealers can purchase a full or half table spot inside the Grange. We also have added many new additions to this fall 2015 SLO Record Swap. We’re so pleased to announce an outdoor beer garden sponsored by our friends at Libertine Brewing Co. Additionally, we have some of the most amazing tacos you’ll ever have by our fiends at Tacos Osorio, and Batch ice cream sandwiches, out in our grove. We’re also so proud to feature some guest DJs and a live painting we plan to auction by our Bay Area friend and muralist/graffiti artist Cameron Thomspson (DJ Aware). Adding this feature for us was vital, as it gives us a space where people can meet up and make some trades on their own. Unless you’re a vendor, you can’t exchange money on the floor of the hall; however, we encourage swapping, exchanging, conversations, and excitement about music and records in our family-friendly, outdoor space. Immediately following the SLO Record Swap, we’re again proud to align our event with the Fall Flood Festival, which is an all ages concert featuring local and traveling, yet significant, acts such as Little Wings (Kyle Fields), Sparrows Gate, and the ever talented local Caleb Nichols, to name a few. Doors for that will open about 6 p.m.
Glen Starkey takes a beating and keeps on bleating. Keep up with him via twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at facebook.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at email@example.com.