Feature Stories

Dallas Gets Its First Record Convention in Years

The vinyl record craze has been raging for years. Everyone has a turntable now and fans often buy multiple copies of an album simply because the records are different colors. Here in Dallas, Good Records is still going strong, Josey Records is planning to take over the world, and Off The Record — a bar that sells vinyl — is a popular hang-out.

So where have the record conventions been? The drought ends this Saturday, when a record storeowner from San Antonio will put one on at the Richardson Civic Center. Jesse Galvan organized The Dallas Record Show, which will bring dozens of vendors. “I don’t have red blood coursing through my veins,” Galvan says. “I’ve got black vinyl.”

Galvan has operated the Music Connection, an independent record store, for 33 years. But in 2003, his sales took a dive. Records weren’t selling and mp3s were killing CDs. A decade later, he was ready to tap out. “I got tired of eating bologna sandwiches with water because I couldn’t afford Coke,” Galvan says. He was going to close his store, but had no idea what else he would be qualified to do. It was then he organized the San Antonio Record Show to save his shop.

The move paid off and the shop now puts the show on twice a year. Galvan has been organizing the Dallas Record Show since October and he is already eyeing a second convention in July. “I figured if I can do it in San Antonio I can certainly do it in Dallas,” Galvan says. “Dallas is three times bigger.”

The Dallas Record Show will feature 35 to 40 vendors, but Galvan says many were reluctant to participate. “I had a brick wall in front of me,” Galvan says. “Dallas dealers feel extremely jaded. People have told me they tried to put together shows over the years and failed miserably. But this is going to be a success. I’m going to do two shows a year until I am 100. I’m 60, so that gives Dallas 80 shows.”

Bryan Coonrod has been collecting records ever since he can remember. In the '90s, he had a Dallas record store called Rush Records, but it was killed by mp3s. He never quit buying vinyl though. He has piles of records he bought for less than a dollar each because he knew they would make a comeback. 
Coonrod now runs Beat Swap Meet, bringing vendors together to sell records at Club Dada. He remembers a record convention at a Doubletree in Richardson, but he's not sure how long ago that was. He can only estimate that it was “way back in the day.”

Since then it has been pop-up stands and swap meets. But Dallas is not missing a connection to vinyl records by any stretch. “Dallas is one of Discogs’ top targets for vinyl in the United States,” Coonrod says.

Coonrod has signed up to be a vendor at the Dallas Record Show and tried to help spread the word through social media. A few of the vendors he regularly works with are also giving the Dallas Record Show a try, but some found the cost of $75 per 8-foot table to be a bit steep. Galvan charges $100 in San Antonio. Many are used to paying a flat rate of $50 and using as many tables as they want.

Both Coonrod and Galvan agree that everything depends on the success of the first show. “Without a good first show, there is no second show,” Galvan says. Coonrod has heard nothing but good things about the San Antonio Record Shows, but is quick to note that these are two different markets. San Antonio is in close proximity to Austin, which has enormous record conventions. “There’s a lot of spillover,” Coonrod says. “It has a built-in crowd.”

Ideally, a successful record convention would need to attract the gray-haired collectors, DJs and the young new generation of vinyl enthusiasts alike. But surprisingly, there will not be any DJs spinning or bands playing on Saturday. “I don’t like live music at the events,” Galvan says. “It is a trade show by nature and sometimes it’s intrusive to the buyers and sellers.”

Galvan promises a variety of music genres and records that cost anywhere from a dollar to thousands of dollars, but admits that it depends on what the dealers bring. The success of the San Antonio Record Show started attracting vendors from Dallas and several other cities. Galvan expects the Dallas Record Show to do even better and potentially triple the number of vendors.

THE DALLAS RECORD SHOW takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Richardson Civic Center, 411 W. Arapaho Road, Richardson, $5
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Jeremy Hallock