Record fairs are an assault on the senses for music enthusiasts. The sight of box after box of vinyl, the musty smell of heavily-fingered sleeves fighting with the enchanting hue of pristine vinyl, and the relentless sound of PVC protection unsticking as fingers flick at high speed… Oh, the joy.
Those loyal and patient vinyl junkies are well-served in Leeds, with a number of the city’s notable landmarks celebrating the fanaticism and rabid enthusiasm that surrounds the unearthing of bargain classics, rare treasures and that bass-shaped Level 42 picture disc that got smashed in the last house move. Guilty pleasures ahoy as we plunder the best Leeds record fairs.
Brudenell Social Club
If you didn’t love this nugget of Leeds’ social scene enough already, the thrice-yearly record fairs they hold are yet another reason to head for Hyde Park. Admission is free and the stallholders travel from all over Yorkshire to hawk rare and quality bargains. The fairs are usually on Sundays – another pioneering move by the Brudenell Social Club to gatecrash the traditional ‘record-listening’ day of the vinyl worshipper. The next one is on May 10.
Holy Trinity Church
Lying bang outside the shopping centre to which it gave its name, Holy Trinity Church is gradually becoming a cultural focal point. Following on from being a host venue at last years’ Live at Leeds, the church has recently committed to welcoming hardened record hunters and retro-loving 20-something hipsters on the last Saturday of every month.
Operated by the Leeds Big Record Fair organisation, the fairs were moved from nearby Queens Hotel in 2014 when the company wanted to host them monthly and needed an accommodating venue. Admission is £2 (£1 concessions) and fairs run from 10am-4pm, a common timespan for most fairs, as vinyl enthusiasts are rarely seen in the hours of darkness when there are crackles to embrace and rich stereophonic sounds to dive into.
All hail the architectural grandeur of Leeds’ most beautiful building. But no gawping at that breathtaking domed roof – it’s strictly eyes down for the mission ahead: to find that limited-edition Grateful Dead early pressing before the grizzled acid casualty inching his way from the dad-rock section. The Corn Exchange holds fairs on the last Sunday of every month, and their website claims to offer records varying from 'acid jazz to urban beats'. The next fair is on March 29.
The Queens Hotel still holds record fairs, but normally just one huge event in tandem with the annual Record Store Day, which this year is on April 18. Belgrave Music Hall and Outlaws Yacht Club are among the Leeds bars that should be applauded for celebrating vinyl culture and hold periodic seasonal fairs with DJs providing accompanying audible treats.
More music on Time Out Leeds.