October 26th, 2016

Leamington Record Fair celebrates vinyl revival

Updated: 2:23 pm, Oct 16, 2015

IT’S all revolved 33 and a third for Karen Johnson over the past 30 years.

When she organised her first record fair in Leamington back in 1985 vinyl was king among collectors, but

the then new CD format was soon to take over becoming the format of choice for most music-lovers.

And in recent years the emergence of downloads looked set to kill off vinyl as a music format for good.

But vinyl is fighting back and sales of new vinyl are on the rise, while those of CDs and downloads both fell in the past year.

The market for second-hand vinyl is also booming.

Karen, who has run record fairs for the past three decades in Leamington, Stratford, Rugby and Coventry, welcomed vinyl’s revival.

The Warwick resident told The Observer: “Records were huge when we started. There were all sorts of coloured vinyls and picture discs and they were what people wanted.

“Then CDs took over but people have been returning to vinyl. The sound of a record is certainly different to that of a digital CD – a lot warmer.

“I think people also like to collect records – to hold a record and to look at the artwork. It’s not something you can do with a download.”

The big names for vinyl collectors have always been the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Queen, and remain so, but a new generation of collectors are searching out 90s American grunge rockers like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and from this side of the pond, Britpoppers Oasis and Blur are popular.

Readers would be advised to search out their old vinyl as it could be worth a pretty penny now.

A mint stereo copy of the Beatles’ 1963 album Please Please Me with the rare black and gold label is worth around £3,500, while a first pressing of Led Zeppelin’s eponymous 1969 outing with the rare turquoise sleeve commands about £1,000.

And old punks with a mint 1977 A&M pressing of the Sex Pistols’s God Save The Queen could be sitting on no less than £8,000.

Dealers buy as well as sell at the record fairs, and the next one takes place at Leamington Town Hall on Saturday December 12, from 10am to 4pm. Admission is free.

Visit www.vinylbank.co.uk for full details of future fairs in the area.