Each semester, the Compact Disc and Record Fair in Downtown Binghamton brings together music lovers and collectors. The free event was hosted this past Sunday at The Travel Hotel at 65 Front Street.
As a collector of records, I knew this would be a perfect place to expand my vinyl library. Entering the conference room of the hotel, my eyes were drawn to the walls that were decorated with the sellers’ rarest collections. Familiar covers like Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” were coupled with albums I had never seen before. Tables lined the walls of the room with an endless collection of crates filled with potential additions to any vinyl collector’s library.
Making my way through the piles of music, it was clear that the selection of albums reached across most genres. While looking through a crate labeled “ODD! Who knows …?” I first pulled out a copy of “The Magic of ABBA” for $20. On the opposite side of the room, a box called “Television and Spoken Word” had selections like “Sesame Street Fever” for $25 and a Superman spoken word record for $15. What seemed to be lacking from most sellers, however, were hip-hop and rap records.
Johanna Boyes, a sophomore double-majoring in art history and anthropology, did not come to the fair searching for anything specific, but took advantage of the music-filled room.
“A lot of the sellers had the same records,” Boyes said, along with some words of advice for the next record fair. “I really recommend doing a solid sweep of the whole fair and finding the cheapest version of the album you want.”
While some of the albums at the fair were priced higher than an average undergraduate student could afford, many of the sellers had music for anywhere between $1 and $5.
I was making my way through the crates when, like any good Long Islander, my eyes shifted to the section labeled “Billy Joel.” I began to search through the collection, encountering most of his biggest albums until finally coming across “Kohuept” Joel’s live album from the Soviet Union in 1987. With the album being priced at only $10, I made my first purchase of the day.
Although records made up a majority of the items at the fair, some sellers had a large selection of CDs and DVDs of live concerts as well.
Sam Pereira, a junior majoring in economics, spent most of his time at the fair looking for CDs rather than records.
“None of the records jumped out at me to actually buy them,” Pereira said. “But I found a couple of CDs to keep for my car.”
Unfortunately, there was a very small crowd for this event. Arriving around 1 p.m., I was expecting a much-larger audience.
Making my final sweep of the crate-filled tables, I came across an original U.S. pressing of Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures.” Having been unable to find this specific version online in the past, I was content with spending the $50 for it.
With an empty wallet and a new pair of records for my collection, I left the fair ready to listen to some new music and excited to return next semester.