You should expect to spend more than an hour at Edmonton’s Music Collectors Show
Vinyl lovers and collectors in Edmonton number enough to hold not one, but two show and sales every year. For buying, selling and trading some of the best lps around, look no further than the Edmonton Music Collectors Show. Picture a massive gymnasium full of boxes of records and people that just love talking music.
The show will also have CDs, music-related DVDs, cassettes, audio equipment and memorabilia as well as rare, collectible, current and aged vinyl.
The brainchild of ardent collectors George Gawlak and Dave Chorley, the Edmonton Music Collectors Show is the sole trade show dedicated to vinyl in Northern Alberta with shows held in the spring and fall since 2012.
Roughly 400 to 600 people turn out to the shows to get their hands in some boxes and search for the next gem to vaunt. Around 40 vendors, both commercial and private come to the show, though most are private collectors looking to thin out their own collections, only to most likely make room for others soon enough.
The event attracts top-notch vendors from as far as Portland to sell their vinyl and catch up with friends in the scene. Other vendors come from Calgary, Lethbridge, Camrose, Saskatoon, and Kamloops, among other places.
Essentially, Richard Liukko of Freecloud in Edmonton says this is not your run-of-the-mill blowout sale.
“While there are some people that show up with sale items, for the most part, this is where you find the collectibles, the rare, hard to find, and the cool titles.”
Liukko says it’s a good way to see some new titles you may not have found as of yet, and meet some great like-minded people.
While it’s often discouraged to go to the show expecting to sell your own collection, it is fair to bring along a small handful of your own pieces for a suggested swap. The opportunity to peruse some of the private collector’s LPs is a rare one at best.
With record collecting gaining massive popularity in the last five years or so, there’s also something to be said about its ability to grip people for an entire lifetime.
There seems to be an element of tactile memory to the craft that makes each collector’s experience unique and extremely memorable. Nearly everyone you speak to can remember the first album they obtained, and often the situation surrounding that moment.
Gawlak’s been collecting and dealing since the ‘50s in England. He has strong memories of handing over a record on a drizzly London street and receiving two pounds or so back, which he would then take right to the market to find a new title. He also has memories of some of his most prized records, which he regrettably sold before moving to Canada.
Liukko can still remember the man that he brought an extra newspaper to as a boy, who in recompense offered up some of his own personal records.
“It was like The Dave Clark Five and The Animals, some really cool Brit-pop stuff,” he recalls.
Other collectors have slightly different stories to tell about the genres that got them into the sport.
Terry Primrose, who runs the record store at the 111 Avenue Super Flea Market, started his collection with Jimi Hendrix in the ‘80s, which has now grown to 18,000 records. Liukko, on the other hand, collected ska and punk albums.
“When I think of music, I’m old enough to remember periods in my life, and memorable moments, and I can often relate that to the music that I was listening to,” Gawlak says holding the record of an obscure Jazz vocalist from the ‘50s. “It’s like, if you grab a record, you can have some kind of emotional attachment to this, because it’s an actual thing that you can look at and hold.”
Gawlak also mentions the warmness and quality of the sound on vinyl, but he says it goes beyond just that.
With the age and wear, often records aren’t perfect and can hold scratches in the tracks, but Gawlak finds this something that leaves him even more seduced by vinyl.
“Sometimes you’ll buy a record, and you come home and put it on the turntable and there’ll be a little bit of surface noise or a bit of crackle halfway through a particular track. It’s like, ‘well alright, we’ve got through that little bit and now we’ve got the rest of the record to look forward to.’”
He finds the authenticity and tactility of vinyl is what a lot of the younger music collectors crave.
Liukko and Gawlak both say the show is a lot like a gathering of old friends and walking around there’s always interesting conversations and stories shared.
But when it comes down to it, the rationale is simple: you love music.
“There are literally billions of used records out there,” says Liukko. “So if you start looking, it could take you awhile, and if you’re patient, you could eventually find what you’re looking for and usually for an affordable price.”
Sun., Oct. 1 (11 – 4 pm)
Edmonton Music Collectors Show
Collector’s Hour, 10 am – 11 am ($10)
Central Lions Recreation Centre ($5)