“EVERY TIME YOU PUT ON A RECORD, YOU’RE PARTICIPATING IN THIS HISTORICAL ACT”
VERNON - Some things really do come back in style.
Case in point: You might have noticed a proliferation of record shops in the Okanagan, such as Record City in Vernon, Milkcrate Records in Kelowna and The Grooveyard in Penticton, as well as larger chains like London Drugs and even Walmart. The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives has noticed too, and is jumping on board the trend in hopes of showing people that history isn’t confined to dusty old books.
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In partnership with Spinners Sound Centre in downtown Vernon, the museum is co-hosting a workshop where people can learn about advancements in the world of turntables as well as helpful tips, like how to clean your vinyl records before dropping the needle. The workshop is part of a number of “field schools” hosted by the museum to connect people with history. Past events have included events with local barbers and farmers.
“History doesn’t just live in a museum, it’s everywhere in the community,” Newman says. “The focus of the field schools is on not just reading about history or looking at history, but actually doing history. Every time you put on a record, you’re participating in this historic act.”
He says the museum has a few old hand crank turn tables that can't really be used anymore due to their age. Newman believes it's important for people to be able to interact and engage with historical devices like turntables, and that's where the upcoming workshop comes in. People will get to see, hear, and learn about both the history of vinyl and its latest resurgence.
Carl St. Jean of Spinners Sound Centre says vinyl records and audio equipment are definitely on trend, and now represent about 50 per cent of their store sales.
“There’s definitely a resurgence in turntables,” St. Jean says. “A little bit of nostalgia, and we have a lot of young people coming in and discovering the sound that vinyl can bring. We’ve sold to a number of young women coming in and buying it for the album covers for their walls and saying, ‘could you play this?’ When they listen to it, they’re shocked at the difference in sound that they’ve heard on their iPods.”
Some customers are those who are getting back into vinyl after a long hiatus.
“Some are so happy they’ve kept their old records, they knew it would come back,” St. Jean says. “Others are kicking themselves for getting rid of records or deciding to leave them with mom who chucked them out.
He says the store sold 79 new turntables last year — compared to 28 three years ago — and serviced roughly twice as many. While the trend faded in North America for many years, he says it never really died in England.
“Lots of European manufacturers have been improving the quality to a micro-detail,” he says.
In other words: Not your Grandpa’s turn table anymore. At Spinners, you’ll find a number of high-end record players with many modern advancements. The store also sells a selection of records.
The Turn Turn Table workshop is set for Saturday, Jan. 27 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Spinners Sound Centre, located at 3107 30 Ave. The event is $10 and tickets must be purchased in advance from the museum, at 3009 32 Ave.
Spinners will be bringing in two turn table experts who will demonstrate different ways of getting the most out of your turntable as well as what is happening in the world of turn tables. Rich Teer is a writer for the online magazine vinylphilemag.com and John Tan is a rep for Rega.
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