Remember when you scored that rare, obscure record at your local thrift store for less money than a gallon of gas (before it cost $3.50)? Multiply that excitement by a few hundred and you have the largest record-collecting show in the Midwest. On Sunday 17 and Saturday 23, in west suburban Hillside and south suburban Alsip, collectors from around the country will gather to talk, trade and buy all things vinyl.
We checked out this traveling record show in late August at a Comfort Suites hotel in South Bend, Indiana, where we spotted DJs, members of the Kiss Army in full regalia, grandmas, hip-hop kids, rockers and curious passersby perusing makeshift aisles. According to Ken Price, show organizer and owner of Wildwood Records, the majority of people who deal are vinyl addicts. “We get a lot of record dealers who just come to shows to sell,” Price says, pointing out his show’s professionalism. “Most guys are collectors who sell records to support their habit like I do.”
Besides the standard 12-inch vinyl, you can dig through 45s, CDs, concert DVDs, T-shirts, posters and a slew of music ephemera. Within ten minutes of our arrival at the August show, we spotted a glossy press photo of a young Prince, a country Christmas covers album, homemade coasters with pictures of music stars from the ’50s and ’70s, and a bevy of ’60s black-psych-rock albums. Crate labels ran the gamut from doo-wop to folk; the only things we didn’t find were classical music and today’s chart toppers (unless a Korn DVD set from 2000 counts).
Most vendors are eager to answer questions; a few even tote turntables so you can make sure an album is in shipshape condition before buying. But you don’t need to be a vinyl nerd here: Records range from $3 to $8, so your wallet won’t be hit too hard by bad choices. Besides, those album frames you bought last year at Urban Outfitters aren’t going to fill themselves.—Maya Henderson
The Chicagoland Record & CD Collectors Show takes place Sunday 17 at Holiday Inn Hillside (4400 Frontage Rd, Hillside) and September 23 at Doubletree Hotel (5000 West 127th St, Alsip). Early birds pay $10 for 7am admission; after 9am admission is $3. For more information, see listings or go to www.chicagorecordcollectors.com.