Music Without Borders: 6th Annual Olympia Record Show
In cosmic time, forty years is but a drop in the bucket. No big deal, if you’re a bucket. But if you’re talking about a record store, especially in the current climate of upheaval that runs throughout the recording industry, to survive this long is really quite an achievement.
For Olympia’s Rainy Day Records, this past year has been the best since they moved downtown about seven years ago. The store’s manager, Adam Hardaway, says it’s all because of the resurgence of vinyl records.
“Last year, the sale of new vinyl LPs have doubled,” he says. Now the sale of new and used vinyl accounts for 45 percent of their sales versus just 35 percent for CDs.
I met recently with Rainy Day’s Stephie Cristol to talk about the store and the Olympia Record Show they’ll be putting on November 16. While a lot of record stores have been worried about making ends meet in this day of digital streams and downloads, for Rainy Day the worst seems to be over.
Though CDs sales are down, the market for new and used vinyl records is, in Stephie’s words, “way way up for us, there’s no end in sight. She sees both young and old record buyers returning to vinyl LPs.
“It’s a more satisfying format.”
Stephie will also be the main person running The Olympia Record Show. Mike Dixon, who put it on for the last six years, moved to Arizona and turned it over to the record collectors at Rainy Day.
Stephie says, “Vinyl will be the focus.”
“This is our first time organizing a record show, but because we interact with the record buying public every day, we’re able to promote it that way, get people interested who would not necessarily know that it was going on.”
Stephie came from Seattle about five years ago and has been working at Rainy Day for the last three. When she first heard about record shows, she was unsure about them. “It sounded intimidating to me and I didn’t know if was some kind of exclusive in-crowd type situation.” But then she figured it out. “It’s just like having a really good record store drop into your town for a day. There’s nothing exclusive about it.”
She says diversity is what makes a great record show, because collectors often get burnt out if it’s the same sellers and same stuff every time. This time a third of the people reserving the 40 tables have never sold at a record show before. She also believes there will be “a lot of kids coming in to buy who have never been to a record show before, so it’s really going to mix it up.”
Stephie won’t be selling her own record collection. “I’m young, I started buying records when I was 17, so I have only been buying records for the last 6 years. I have a lot of stuff at home but not a lot that I would part with.”
But she will be looking. “A lot of times I’ll just go and dig and there will be things I never even thought I was looking for and here’s this record that’s really cool that I don’t have and it’s only 5 bucks, sure I’ll take it.”
She tells me that a lot of younger people are into buying vinyl records now, “we sell a lot of new Indie rock and a lot of Punk records, early 90s Olympia stuff.”
On what to expect, she tells me, “Sometimes people will haggle, but I find most things to be priced fairly, because it’s people selling their own collections, there’s no middleman to worry about.”
“Some people are selling collections that they bought and they don’t listen to any more, and some people are always hounding.” ◙
The 6th Annual Olympia Record Show takes place Saturday, November 16, 3-7 pm at the Olympia Elks Lodge, 1818 4th Ave (near Ralph’s Thriftway). For your 2 dollars admission, there’ll be two DJs, Johnny Baltimore and Slim Rock, spinning vinyl, and a full bar.