“A traditional record show is generally just a marketplace,” Waldfogel says. “It’s buyers and sellers. And that’s great; I personally love to attend those types of events. But every time I've been to one, it felt like there was a little bit of culture missing.”
For example, Waldfogel says, record shows often have no music playing. That always struck him as odd. So the Rocky Mountain Record Show — which he has put together with partners Reuben Saul and Patrick Selvage — will have DJs spinning vinyl sets throughout the day. It does seem weird, after all, to have an event dedicated to music with no music.
The event is happening at RedLine Contemporary Art Center in RiNo, which offers a much warmer environment than a cold convention center, where many such events take place.
“We're going to have a couple food trucks coming out,” he says. “There will be beer and wine. So you can come out and get your records and have a hang afterward with other collectors and people that appreciate that kind of stuff.”
The event includes more than twenty dealers, including local record stores Wax Trax Records and Arvada’s Black & Read Books Music & Games. The show focuses mostly on used vinyl from a variety of genres.
“You'll find a lot of different stuff, depending on what you're looking for,” Waldfogel says. “We’ve curated the dealers who are coming out — people that have "good stuff" — but we haven’t taken it to the level of curating what they are bringing. We leave that to them.”
Waldfogel says that independent dealers will come from New Mexico, California and Oklahoma, each with their own selections. Waldfogel is looking forward to the fresh, out-of-state vinyl. Personally, he looks for Brazillian and African music when he’s pursuing the bins.
“We have some folks who are just collectors and want to set up and sell out of their collections,” he says. “Most of the time — and I fall in this category personally — you are just selling so you can buy more records. It’s part of the record-collecting ecosystem.”
The event also includes a mini-poster show, because concert posters and vinyl overlap among some collectors.
“We have a couple of screen printers coming out,” he says. “They're going to do an exhibition of that type of art, as well. We saw that as connected to records and live music and gig posters.”
Vinyl Me, Please, a Denver-based vinyl record subscription service, is a presenting sponsor of the inaugural event.
"We are honored to be a part of the first annual Rocky Mountain Record Show, and view it as a chance to actively celebrate the community and culture of physical music,” says Vinyl Me, Please CEO Cameron Schaefer in a statement. “VMP is focused on exploring music together, and thus the spirit of an event like this lies at the heart of our brand and mission."
Depending on how the inaugural event unfolds, Waldfogel would like to see it become a yearly show.
“Ultimately, I’d love to see it become something that people travel to Colorado to experience,” he says. “We'd love to keep it something where it’s mostly for the local community but people might plan a trip with a Red Rocks concert but also come to the show and grab some vinyl during the day.”
Vinyl has been making a comeback over the past several years, and it surpassed CD sales for the first time last year, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. That trend is continuing this year, the organization says. (Streaming still accounts for 83 percent of music sales.)
Waldfogel says he grew up in the CD and iPod generation, but the larger-format art on vinyl records initially drew him to the medium. He recalls seeing the art of an album he’d heard a million times but never in physical form before.
“This experience of seeing the cover and the liner notes and putting it on the turntable — the ritual around that just really resonated with me,” he says.
He adds that he has been a collector most of his life, but vinyl has been the most rewarding.
“It’s something you can collect, and you can covet it and fetishize it,” he says. “But at the end of the day, it’s something that has this utility. You can just throw it on the record player and listen to it. Especially once you start to get into more obscure stuff. It might be something that might not be on Spotify, and you are almost discovering it for yourself the first time.”
The Rocky Mountain Record Show runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., August 21, at RedLine Contemporary Art Center, 2350 Arapahoe Street. Admission is free after 11 a.m., and early admission is available for $20; attendees need to pre-register. Tickets and more info are available at the Rocky Mountain Record Show website.Update: Chain Reaction Records will no longer be participating.