Yesterday’s D.C. Record Fair at the Black Cat turned out to be an overwhelming success, according to one of the event’s organizers. "It was pretty crazy," says Neal Becton, Som Records’ owner, "like 1500 people turned up. That’s one of the reasons we left Comet. We love Comet but it was a little too small. We expected like 500."
The fact that organizers tripled their attendance expectations was not lost on a few record geeks. "A few folks complained about it," Becton says. "There were people lined up at some tables. But everybody was pretty pleased. The dealers were happy."
Becton says that if they hold the record fair at the Black Cat again, they may open up the club’s first floor as well. The next record fair may be held in June.
This fair had 30 dealers including notable local shops like Red Onion, Smash and Crooked Beat as well as Plan 9 from Richmond, Memory Lane from District Heights, and Own Guru from Baltimore. The crowds could have lead to an epic disaster like the one famously chronicled by the Onion.
"From like noon to 5:30 it was like packed with people," says Red Onion’s Josh Harkavy. "Everyone’s table was like two or three people deep waiting to look at records which is not something I see too often.... It was impressive."
Harkavy adds: "I was pretty much blown away at how much merchandise we sold. I think I had four empty crates at the end of the day which is awesome."
Harkavy says his personal highlight was "seeing a baby flip through records. I’d never seen that before."
Becton says: "The DJ sets were great. Kid Congo’s set was awesome. Seeing Ian MacKaye up there was kind of fun. He sounded great, playing some pretty rare punk rock singles."
Harkavy and Becton say the fair wasn’t just crowded but very diverse for such nerd events. "It’s really encouraging," Becton says. "I saw a lot of Xs on hands there. A lot of under 21s buying records, male and female. Most record shows you go to it’s a bunch of old guys.... My wife even commented on it. I thought it was kind of nice. It makes for a better atmosphere."