On April 25 the Northside Record Fair will host another record show in Northside. The address is 4222 Hamilton Avenue (the Northside Presbyterian Church). Admission is five dollars from 11am to 4pm while the early birds (10am) pay ten bucks.
Before the Northside Record Fair started hosting record shows, it always seemed like the other big cities in Ohio had thriving record shows while Cincinnati’s was an embarrassment. The Northside Record Fair has been such a success that they quickly decided to start hosting it twice a year. As someone who loved records long before I ever attended any shows, I can say why, if they’re done right, they’re a great way to shop for vinyl. The reasons include (but are not limited to):
- A Healthy Selection of the Classics. Record stores can’t stock enough Beatles, Stones, Floyd, Talking Heads, REM, Zeppelin, and they tend to keep running out of those essentials. But with each vendor a mini-record store, you see a lot more of the major artists at the shows.
- Obscure Records. Personally, my favorite thing about record shows is the plethora of obscure records that I’ve never heard of before and have never seen in person.
- 45s. Because of space limitations, record stores tend to stock the records that are most likely to fly off the shelves the fastest and don’t bother stocking 45s. There are always lots of 45s at the Northside Record Fair.
- You Can Cut A Deal. Record stores don’t cut you any bargains, but it’s common practice at record shows for dealers to shave off a few dollars when you buy more than one record.
- Rubbing Shoulders. I love record stores, but the camaraderie that exists on at shows, where the crowd is thicker and the buzz is on, is that much stronger. I always find it a crash course in music and records, and my teachers are people who’ve delved much more deeply into musicians and genres than I have. It kind of deflates my ego when the savants are so much younger than I am, but I still attend class and take note diligently.