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There's an old proverb: Move an event, lose an event.
Okay, we just made that up. But the essence isn’t that far off the mark. When you shift an established annual event from one location to another, you risk losing its momentum, its ambience, its je ne sais quoi.
So when we heard all-volunteer Penticton radio station CFUZ 92.9 FM was moving its coolest fundraiser of the year from its long-time home at the Penticton Seniors Drop-In Centre all the way across town to the newfangled Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at Okanagan College, we weren’t sure what to think.
Turns out we needn't have worried. The 2023 version of Vinyl Fest, the celebration of vinyl records and the gear upon which they are played, did just fine, thank you.
Indeed, when we stopped by approximately halfway through the event Sunday morning, we were a wee bit blown away by the sea of people in front of us.
Granted the new space is smaller than the last. But it was packed -- enough that there appeared to be some urgency in the record-buying public.
Better buy it now or the guy beside me will get it.
Ultimately, 120 people paid the extra bucks to get in the door for the "early bird" hour between 9 am and 10 am. And 340 attendees in all made the scene before the 3 pm closing.
That's more than last year at the old stomping grounds -- a good sign.
Jon Shaw of Penticton, a veteran of prior Vinyl Fests who keeps a notebook listing the records he hopes to find, said he's a fan of the new setup.
"I like it here a lot," he said. "It's fun. It's the most crowded I've ever seen it. Obviously vinyl is catching on."
Shaw flipped through the records he'd already purchased, showing us albums from 60s and 70s-era bands like the Young Rascals, Jefferson Airplane, Deep Purple and The Rolling Stones.
"I just like looking at old records," he said. "And I like the sound of vinyl. It's a better sound, especially if you have a good record player."
Right beside Shaw was his stepdaughter Nora Saliken, who chirped in and declared, "Putting on a record is a ritual. It sounds like it's straight out of the studio."
That’s a common sentiment from Vinyl Fest attendees. And they may be on to something.
"The college has been wonderful for this event," said event spokesperson Jackie Del Rizzo on site Sunday morning. "They're so supportive of us, and they're a sponsor too.
"We started this event at the Shatford Centre but then we needed to expand it so we went to the Seniors Centre. We loved it there. But we're super happy here, and with the layout of the room."
Peach City Community Radio Society VP Dave Del Rizzo agreed.
"No place is permanent," he said, "but I think we'll be here for a few years. Everything's a bit more compact, so we've had to spill out some of our stuff from that room to this room, but it's been super successful. We sold over 40 tables to vendors from all over.
"And there's something to be said for creating excitement at an event. So with it being so crowded and when you have to wait to get to the front of a table to see a box of records, it increases your anticipation. And I think that makes for a better atmosphere for all."
That better atmposphere showed itself at the cash register too. The event raised just over $5,000 for the station. That's approximatelly $1,000 more than the 2022 total.
For more info on CFUZ 92.9 FM or to simply listen in online, go here.