Display the vinyl and they will come.
Hundreds of music collectors and enthusiasts flocked to the Oshawa CD/Vinyl expo at the LVIV Hall and Pavilion in search for bargains and rarities every February and November. For $3 fans have access to record store stock from all over Ontario, rare, old and new.
Mike Reynolds is one of them. He received his first record, Queen’s A Day at the Races, when he was 13-years old. From Queen, his love of vinyl and music grew.
Reynolds, now 46, once possessed a large collection of records, but parted ways with most of it once his kids were born.
“I bought lots and lots then got away from it for a while, I set everything aside. At one point I’ve had about 2,500, about 250 now maybe,” he says.
The love of vinyl is now something he shares with his kids – who are all grown up.
“I brought my kids into back into it and they just love it too. For Christmas I bought my daughter a turntable and some speakers. My son has his own collection too.”
Reynolds took a few treasures home from the expo.
“Just some old stuff. A couple Pink Floyd reissues, old Iron Maiden and Tragically Hip,” he says, showing off his new finds.
John Ashley is used to carrying around crates of vinyl and bargaining with collectors like Reynolds.
Ashley is the owner of Galaxy Records, a record shop based out of Lasalle, a small town south of Windsor. He exhibits merchandise at vinyl shows and expos all over Ontario and serves as the promoter of Windsor’s own record show. This marked his fourth time working the Oshawa event.
“I keep the vinyl tradition alive. I’ve seen everything from five-year-olds to 85-year-olds, it’s all over the map,” says Ashley.
Ashley speaks of renewed enthusiasm in the physical format, especially vinyl, from both kids and adults and the role played by the internet in this apparent revival.
“I think kids today just love records as much as we do and it’s fabulous. They’re very knowledgeable and I think the internet and all those social media sites have allowed people research we didn’t have when we were kids. It’s allowed you to see what’s in a store in Belgium.”
Many attendees of the show weren’t born when vinyl was at the peak of its popularity. Like Adam Gagnon, a 20-year-old from Courtice who first discovered vinyl in his parents’ basement.
“I was digging through my parents’ old collection, took out the old record player and I began collecting different records,” he says.
The young record collector has been building up a collection of his own through vinyl expos and trades with friends.
“I’ve been collecting for a couple years now. I always come and browse around and pick up something that I’ve been looking for a long time that’s hard to come by.”
Gagnon walked away from the show with Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Rolling Stones records under his arm.
The occasional CD and tape was also on display, but to a far lesser extent than vinyl.
Records at the event ranged from dollar bin deals to rarities that sold for nearly $50.
From Ashley’s point of view, a record’s true value can only be measured by the customer’s wallet.
“Everyone thinks they’re an expert and no one’s an expert,” explains the record store owner. “A record’s only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.”