The Town of Carrboro sponsored the 29th biannual Carrboro CD and Record Show on Sunday. The event, which had been postponed for a year and a half due to the pandemic, hosted over 40 tables of CDs, records, cassettes and music memorabilia.
The first sale was held in 2004, when vinyl record dealer Gerry Williams realized there was a lack of CD and record shows in the Triangle. Williams owned a record shop when living in Washington, D.C., and when he moved to Carrboro with his wife, he decided to open a record shop in the area.
Williams said that even though the record shop didn't last through the years, the Carrboro CD and Record Show persisted.
With the pandemic raising public heath concerns about large gatherings, he and the Town worked to ensure the show would be safe to hold this fall.
“This time, I worked extra hard to try and promote the show because we had three of them canceled, and I thought this one was going to be canceled,” Williams said. “The Town and I figured out a way to do it where all the vendors had to prove they were vaccinated. They have to wear a mask and all the attendees will have to wear a mask.”
When Williams originally pitched his idea to the Town, he said that they readily agreed and provided staff, promotion and a space for the event. He said the Town’s sponsorship allows this event to be free to the public, unlike many similar record shows.
He said he used his connections in the music industry to secure sellers from the Carolinas, Virginia and New York City.
Williams said that vinyl collectors are always looking for shows, while other customers such as Carrboro resident Max Brown simply spot signs on the street promoting the event.
“I had no idea this was happening,” Brown said. “I was just driving through town and saw a sign on the corner and was like, 'Alright, yeah I’ll stop.'”
Brown said he enjoys collecting records mostly for the aesthetic aspect. He stopped in at the show Sunday and purchased three records in the ten minutes he was there.
Other attendees like Carrboro resident David Beck are more interested in the nostalgia that vinyl records bring. Beck often browses thrift stores for records to add to his collection.
“It really is nostalgic and I think album covers are fun, and I’m not sure my stereo equipment is so great that it actually is better sound quality,” he said. “But more it’s fun and nostalgic.”
Williams said that over the years, record shows have been attracting a wider audience. While mainly older men were drawn to the show at its conception, people of all genders and ages now attend.
“There’s a lot to see even if you’re not a serious vinyl or CD collector,” Williams said. “It seems to me that it would be fun for people to come in, especially maybe younger folks that could see a whole different era of, even though vinyl is really popular today, they are going to see a lot of stuff that they weren’t aware of from the '60s and '70s and maybe even '50s.”
At the show on Sunday, Williams noted the event drew a substantial crowd, so many that customers had to wait outside at some points during the day to maintain the room’s COVID-19 capacity standards.
Many similar record shows have emerged in North Carolina since the Carrboro shows' inception in 2004, with shows in Raleigh and Charlotte scheduled to be held in December.
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