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Raw and rich – Vinyl is the real deal

Victoria’s Record Fair offers audiophiles the chance to find their holy grail
Vinyl records outsold CDs last year for the first time since 1987. (image supplied by Tim Collins)

Vinyl records.

You can take them out and hold them in your hand. You can admire the cover artwork, read the liner notes and lyrics, and smell the vinyl disc.

It’s a tangible experience.

When the vinyl starts to spin, out comes a warm sound, with real tones, crackles and the background sounds that make it unique. It’s a passionate experience with music.

That passion for vinyl records will be on full display when the Victoria Record Fair opens its doors at the Fernwood Community Centre on May 7. The sale will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be the first large group music sale of its kind in Victoria in recent history.

Thousands of vinyl records as well as CDs, cassettes, and music memorabilia will be on offer but, it’s the vinyl that will most likely capture the interest of Victoria’s music lovers.

“There’s a fascination with vinyl. The listening experience is completely different,” said Sean Sullivan of The Turntable, a Victoria shop that specializes in vinyl recordings.

“People treat CDs as background noise. And Spotify and formats like that … well no one will come over to your house to check out your playlist. But you can tell friends, ‘Hey, come on over and listen to this new record I’ve got.’”

Beyond the esoteric attraction that vinyl offers the music lover, the value of some records has inspired a subculture of treasure hunters, on the lookout for a rare find of enormous value. Some records regularly fetch hundreds and even thousands of dollars on e-Bay and some are hugely valuable (the signed copy of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper sold for $290,000 at auction in 2013).

“We actually sold a second state butcher cover of The Beatles’ Yesterday and Today,” said Sullivan. “That was really rare, and we were thrilled to get our hands on it.”

The resurgence of vinyl has prompted an increase in the production of vinyl records. Last week, the iconic rock band Metallica went so far as to buy their own vinyl record pressing plant. Their announcement came as it was revealed that vinyl records outsold CDs last year for the first time since 1987.

For Chris Lloyd of Vinyl Envy, another well-known record store in Victoria, vinyl records transcend the latest headlines.

“It’s about having something tangible … sitting back and listening to an artist the way they meant their music to be heard,” said Lloyd. “You can bet that artists never intended their songs to be heard streamed through headphones while jogging.”

“But it’s also about community. You can meet with friends and go record shopping – looking for that holy grail of records that you’ve always wanted. If you can find it, well, it’s amazing.”

Lloyd said that a new crop of vinyl enthusiasts have also started to appear on the scene.

“We get younger people coming in who say that their father or grandfather has given them a turntable and some records and they’ve fallen in love with the sound and want to add to their collection.”

Young or old vinyl enthusiasts can look forward to Victoria’s May 7th Record Fair to advance their own quest for the holy grail of records. And who knows? They may just find it.