The Nanaimo Record Show returns to the Bowen Park Auditorium this Sunday, April 16. Cheekily referred to as Vancouver Island’s longest running record show, the show sees vendors from all over the Island and Lower Mainland hawking their wares. In its seventh year, the show will welcome back previous vendors while also making space for some new faces.
Organizer Jack Tieleman tells The Discourse the show has become a source of pride.
“It used to be you had to go to Vancouver to go to a record show or big record fairs in Texas and New York. It’s pretty cool to have in our town.”
The show presents an opportunity for seasoned vinyl lovers and new collectors to meet and mingle. There will also be a range of goods for sale.
“You have folks selling old posters, band merchandise, concert DVDs,” Tieleman adds. “CD’s are often there. And someone always brings some cassettes to flip through.”
Vinyl records outsold CDs in 2022, Rolling Stone reported in March, a first in the United States since 1987.
“There are new record stores and outlets up and down the Island,” Tielman says. “The LP record is the comeback story of the last decade.”
Record shows have seen booms and busts on the Island, with shows in Victoria such as The Vinyl Supernova lasting four years before closing. Tielman himself runs two other shows along with the Nanaimo Record Show, with a fall show in Courtenay and one in Powell River. For him, one of the draws is helping someone find that big wishlist item.
“I did a record show in Vancouver two years ago,” he recalls. “This young gal was up there and I say, ‘what did you get?’ I’m always curious what people are buying. And she goes, ‘I got this Ethel Merman record!’”
“My friend goes, ‘Who would guess a 20-something year old lady would be excited to find an Ethel Merman record’?”
Tielman recommends visitors have cash on hand if they plan to make purchases.
The Nanaimo Record Show takes place at the Bowen Park Auditorium from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 16. Admission is $2 and kids under twelve attend free. This year JLA Food Truck will be on site to provide Caribbean fusion cuisine. The event is heavily attended with most guests showing up before lunch. Tielman advises those needing a calmer atmosphere for browsing should attend roughly an hour after lunch up until closing.
“There are still gems you will find. We’ve had folks find their wishlist item right before everyone packs up — you won’t be missing out if you don’t show up in the first hour.”