Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Austin Record Convention preserves music history, brings together vinyl community

William Whitworth
Two people discuss which album to get at the Austin Record Convention. The ARC is the largest record convention in the USA and has been hosted since 1981. Taken on October 1, 2023.

Beyond heavy metal doors, a new world unfolds ushering its visitors in with the smell of aging cardboard and walls of ordinary valuables. Vendors familiar with this land speak in another dialect, throwing around words like “prog,” “psychedelia” and “the Gizzverse.” Engraved wooden crates, plastic bins and repurposed produce boxes hold their ancient treasures, discussed and bartered by the travelers of this world. Palmer Events Center carefully preserves this world.

The Austin Record Convention gathered the vinyl and music collector community to buy records, CDs, band merch and other music memorabilia on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

“It’s a preservation of music history,” anthropology sophomore Katelynn Kadera said. “Everyone can find something here. Everyone can find their niche here.”

Kadera wore the quintessential garb of a traditional goth: black angular makeup, a leather jacket studded with pins and patches and winklepickers — pointed black boots popular with British rock ‘n’ roll fans. She said a short snippet of Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi is Dead” back in 2019 inspired her to identify as a “trad goth” and scour the convention for goth and new wave records, already with Sisters of Mercy and Siouxsie and the Banshees merch tucked into her bag.

“I like doing it as they did in the 80s,” Kadera said. “We didn’t have anything like this back in my hometown, and it’s really nice that there’s a lot of variety (of music) here.”

Dallas music dealer Johnny Vaughn’s table boasted Beatles posters, American newspapers from the 1960s, toy cars and a set of Yellow Submarine collectible figurines. He said his items came from an old friend’s collection who passed away about five years ago. 

“I can remember the first place I was driving when I heard the Beatles’ ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand,’” Vaughn said. “(People said) they were this new band from England you got to hear, they’re amazing.”

Vinyl dealer Jeffrey Jersig said he remembered his own experiences with Beatlemania while browsing through his parents’ record collection as a kid. Stopping on the colorful album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Jersig said he’d never heard music like that before and became hooked on its production and orchestration. Over the years, more than a thousand records filled Jersig’s personal collection, which customers flipped through and bought from at the convention. Jersig said he bought many of his records 20 to 30 years ago.

“As much as it pains me to sell (my collection), I have that memory and that’s special to me,” Jersig said. “Now I can do that on the other side of the table. It’s like regifting my records to someone else so they can listen to them and enjoy them for themselves that way I did well for all those years.”

Instead of mourning the loss of his vinyl, Jersig said he sees selling his records as investing in his future and his plans to eventually open a record store in Killeen, Texas.

“If they keep it in their collection for the rest of their lives, they’ll remember where they got it from,” Jersig said. “My collection now belongs to everyone.”

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