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Photo courtesy of Calgary Music Collectors Show

Calgary Music Collectors Show returns

By Troy Hasselman, October 19 2019 —

The Calgary Music Collectors Show will return on Oct. 20 with over 60 vendors lining the city’s Acadia Recreation Centre, selling new and used records, CDs and cassettes along with rare and out-of-print finds. 

The show will appeal to both seasoned collectors and newcomers to the hobby, with vendors catering to different tastes, knowledge levels and budgets.

“You get both longtime collectors and new collectors coming to the show,” says Calgary Music Collectors Show founder and organizer Mark Corner. “The old-time collectors have more specific wants in mind, whether it’s pieces they’ve been chasing after for a few years or something they’ve recently heard that they want to see if they can find. The new collectors come here with eyes wide open and a willingness to check out everything and grapple with what catches their eye. They may not have the same spending resources as the old-time collectors, but a show like this is good because you get a lot of people selling records for $1, $2 or sometimes five dollars, so there’s a lot of options for these guys to come to the show and amass a good handful before they leave.”

Corner is pleased with the amount of newcomers that attend the show every year and hopes that the hobby continues to grow and the show remains a space for people to share their love of music.

“It’s good to see new collectors coming to the show which means the hobby itself is growing,” Corner says. “That’s very important. From a personal point I don’t want to just see a bunch of speculators coming to the show and buying something to sell on the internet later. You want true collectors coming to the show who will take their record home, appreciate it, put it on the stereo every once in a while and enjoy it and get a feel for what this hobby is about — enjoying the music, appreciating the records and learning about the history of the albums and why they’re a first edition or a later Canadian pressing. There’s  a lot of nooks and crannies to this hobby that collectors learn about as they go through it.”

For collectors looking to find rare or first pressings of records, the show will have vendors specializing in such finds, with records in every genre imaginable represented as the show tries to move away from the perception of record collecting as a pursuit only for classic rock fans.

“We’ve got one collector that’s a couple and first-time vendors and they’re bringing along a lot of hard-to-find pressings of albums from the late ‘90s and early 2000s and the reason they’re rare is because at that time the CD was king,” Corner says. “Unless you special ordered a record, it would be pretty difficult to find something on LP. There was a big scene in Seattle in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s — the whole Sub-Pop phenomenon with bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains. As far as other genres of music, anyone that can bring blues down to the record fair is a bonus because blues albums are particularly hard to find. It wasn’t really part of our heritage on the prairies, so blues records are difficult to find, original jazz pressings are nice to find if you can get them in good condition. Soul and funk are always good to add to a collection. Heavy metal, especially the private-pressed metal always gets a lot of interest. A lot of those bands aren’t very well known but as far as metalheads are concerned, the music is always very good.”

Since the first edition of the Calgary Music Collectors Show was held in 2008, the annual show has grown in both attendance and number of vendors present, with vendors from across Western Canada and some of Calgary’s record stores participating in the event. There is also an even bigger edition of the show held each spring with over 100 vendors present. Corner says that despite the growth of the show, it will keep its focus solely on music.

“I don’t want to branch out too much. I don’t want to see toys or comic books. It’s always gonna be about music,” Corner says. “If we keep the show stable at about 65–70 vendors in the fall and 100–120 vendors for our spring show, that would be fantastic. The key to it — there’s always interesting records and music for the people that come to the show — keep it always something new and something different. That’s the most important thing, going forward we just want to continue to see good, quality used music. Whether it’s domestic pressing, import pressing or a good variety of genres and music is also very important. Everybody has different tastes. Besides, it’s nice to see imports as well as domestic pressings and different formats and 12-inch EP’s, 12-inch LP’s and seven-inch records.”

Photo by Cheyanne Lemaire.

Some lost classics from our own city will as well be present at the show with releases from past Calgary bands such as ‘60s rockers the 49th Parallel or 80s heavy metal act Breaker being some of the more sought after releases for collectors.

“We have copies of the 49th Parallel record. They were a Calgary band from the ‘60s. I know a lot of people say they’re a psych but I regard them more as a British invasion top 40 sound,” Corner says. “It still seems to be a very sought after release even though it’s been reissued a few times. As far as metal, there’s a band out of Calgary called Breaker featuring a musician from Winnipeg called Shakey who moved out to Calgary and started this band. The record is called In Days of Heavy Metal, I remember you used to be able to find it at Recordland for $10. Suddenly it became very popular in Europe and now you now that record demands between $100 and $200 depending on condition. If you see that record at the show and it’s a fair price, definitely grab it.”

Along with the records, special guests will also highlight the festival, including hip-hop artist Dane Goulet, who also works for influential music website Discogs, as well as British rock legend Twink.

“Twink will be on hand selling his record, he’ll be giving autographs and taking photographs at no charge,” Corner says. “He’s been involved in bands like The Pretty Things and Jimi Hendrix and the Pink Fairies. He was in a punk band called the Rings and a bunch of other bands. I know he was also working with Larry Wallace, who was the original guitarist for Motörhead.”

The Calgary Music Collectors show will take place on Oct. 20 from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Acadia Recreation Centre at 240 90 Ave S.E., near Southland Station and Heritage Station. General admission will cost $5. There will be early access offered from 9:30–11:00 a.m. for $10. Door prizes will also be given away at the show. For more information about the show and the upcoming show in the spring visit their website.

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