On Saturday, Oct. 20, the Fargo Record Fair attracted a record number of music lovers from across the greater Fargo-Moorhead area. Not only did this event showcase an eclectic collection of vinyl for sale, it provided an opportunity for the community to bond over a mutual appreciation for vinyl and music.
According to Nielsen’s 2017 U.S. Music Year-End Report, last year marked the twelfth consecutive year that vinyl experienced an increased growth in US sales. While this statistic proves that vinyl has once again become trendy among audiences, it has always been one of Dean Sime’s, organizer of the Fargo Record Fair, greatest passions.
Sime has loved music and records since he was in the sixth grade. This love led him to land a job in a music store, where he worked for ten years. Later in his life, he attended a record fair in New York City, which sparked a desire in him to emulate this event in Fargo.
Flash forward to the present, and the Fargo Record Fair has grown to be a success. Shannon Grindberg, a vendor at the event, was pleased with this year’s event.
“This fair has been one of the best record shows that Dean has put together in this area,” Grindberg said.
Sime approximates that throughout the course of the day, the record fair drew in 500 people to the Fargo El Zagel Shrine, where the event was located.
While the El Zagel Shrine building is a relatively small space, it was packed with large numbers of vinyl connoisseurs and records galore. On each table sat boxes upon boxes packed with vinyl from all eras and genres of music. No matter what type of music a customer was in to, the vendors at the Fargo Record Fair were bound to have something that was precisely their taste, whether they were a Beatles, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, or Nirvana fan.
The wide variety of vinyl for sale at the Fargo Record Fair opened up numerous opportunities for customers to discuss and bond over shared passions, feelings, and memories pertaining to music. For Sime, these conversations are a personal highlight of the record fair.
“My favorite part about the record fair is hanging out with music fans and talking about music,” Sime said.
There’s obviously something special about vinyl that gives it the power to evoke such personal exchanges and keen reactions among people, whether they are the type of person who lives and breathes music or is just a casual listener. According to TIME Magazine in their article “Here’s Why Music Lovers are Turning to Vinyl and Dropping Digital,” “Many agree that the tangible aspect of vinyl, its physicality, is a draw for most people.” Both vinyl and music on digital platforms allow for the listener to connect with a song on sensory and emotional levels; however, vinyl enhances the listening experience in a way digital forms of music cannot by adding a layer and depth of physical connection. TIME also claims that consumerist ideals and enhanced sound quality are part of the the appeal of collecting and listening to vinyl. Vinyl’s various charms have helped record sales soar in recent years.
The U.S. record sale business has been booming for over a decade now. In Nielsen’s aforementioned report, it was concluded that vinyl has been experiencing a “renaissance at retail” due to the fact that record sales have been climbing over the past twelve years. Nielsen’s report stated that in 2017, vinyl alone comprised 14 percent of all physical album sales; this percentage equates to 14.32 million records. This may not seem like a lot, but in 2016, vinyl sales made up merely five percent of all physical album sales.
With the increase in vinyl sales, music fans are now able to acquire records in a plethora of different places. Some of these places might include sorting through a parent’s dusty collection, an expedition to the thrift store, or attending the Fargo Record Fair. No matter where a person procures their vinyl, they can be assured that they are apart of a unique and tightly-knit community of music lovers.