The vinyl resurgence has created loads of new vinyl fanatics. And while a lot of them won’t be looking further than the selection of represses in stock at Urban Outfitters, there will be some who want to dig a little deeper to expand their record collection. The answer of course, is the good old record fair.
The record fair is a bit different than a typical run to the record store, as its highly likely you’ll be unable to preview them at a listening station. Therefore, you’re going to have to use your intuition and gut-feeling to get the biggest bang for your buck. Here are our ten tips for effectively finding, selecting, and purchasing records that will best fit you.
Make sure you bring enough cash with you
Because it’s common for vinyl fairs to be held at off centre locations like warehouses or gymnasiums, there is some distance between the fair and an ATM. So make sure you bring enough dough with you, as record fair vendors don’t accept bank cards. An amount of 100 euros will usually do the trick to get you home with a smile on your face.
Trust your eyes and go with the flow
It definitely helps to have a hefty knowledge of the material you’ll be gazing through, but you will most definitely come across artists or labels you’ve never heard of. On top of that, the number of records available at the fair is overwhelming. Use the artwork and design as a translation of the music, and fit it into the way you visualize your own interpretation of music.
Go to the cheap crates first
Why? Quite simply to save a bit of that cold-hard cash. On the occasion you will find the same albums in both the cheap and more expensive crates.
Already have an idea of what you want? make a want list!
Looking for an original pressing of Strings of Life or Move Your Body or a classic Stones or Zeppelin album? Make a list of your most wanted slabs of black wax. That way you won’t forget about your favorites after flicking through hundreds of records at the fair.
Be sure to toggle between your price vs. diversity objectives
If you buy a few records at multiple vendors rather than all your records at one, you’ll be missing out on a discount. Most record shops in general provide discounts to those who purchase in greater amounts. However, at the record fair, because all transactions are dealt within each individual vendor – you’d have to get a pile at the vendor in order to receive that discount.
Go for depth rather than breadth
Buy records you can deeply immerse yourself into. If you’re a DJ or artist, buy records you can use for technical purposes. Have a focus, but develop a nice range within your focus. This includes getting a mix of rarer white label 12″s to more prominent releases that go down as ‘big ones’.
For the samplers: go to the $1 crates
When it comes to sampling – you really only need to worry about the timbres rather than the compositional layout, concepts etc. You’ll find plenty of worthy 12″s with solid sounding instruments… it may not appear as a masterpiece, but can certainly be recycled into something interesting.
Make a round at the whole place before deciding to purchase
Money-wise, this is a golden tip. When you’ve actually searched through the entire fair, you will maybe find that Kraftwerk album at a vendor on the other side of the fair, but at half price from the one you found two hours earlier.
Ask the guys working on what they recommend
Considering they catalogue everything sold and consistently go through their stock – your bound to dig up a diamond just through a quick chit chat – and perhaps a new friend.
Pick out a few on a completely random basis..
Breaking out of your curation habits can be a game-changer. Secondly, gambling is fun, and it can bring something new to the table.
…but make sure you’ll actually be playing the records you’re buying
An obscure, experimental record is nice to have, but even nicer to play every now and again instead of placed on a shelf, collecting dust.
Go later in the day
This is when the vendors have sold enough records already and aren’t haggling as vividly as when they started that morning. This will give you an advantage and a much better deal for that big stack of records.