Vinyl Record Day Returns

Vinyl junkies who missed the first official Vinyl Record Day celebration last summer should mark their calendars for Saturday, August 16. On that date, the faithful will again converge in San Luis Obispo, CA's Mission Plaza to gawk at LPs, memorabilia, vintage gear, and to meet classic album cover notables.

SACD and DVD-Audio may be getting all the format news these days, but here's an interesting statistic: sales of vinyl so far this year total 661,000 units, trouncing the 234,000 units sold by DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD combined. The vinyl collectors market is also hot, and VRD's founder, Gary Freiberg, says that his event is both a look back and a look forward "to promote the future of vinyl and to assure [that] the independent labels producing new artists and graphics on vinyl survive."

Honorary Chairperson this year is Alex Steinweiss, credited with creating the first album cover in 1940 for Columbia Records. Mr. Steinweiss will attend and participate in a public interview and discussion on album cover art. Other famous album cover artists are expected to attend, including photographers who created some of the most memorable cover images from the '60s and '70s.

This year's celebration will also include exhibits of album cover art, historic rock posters, Edison cylinders, and other historical phonograph equipment. Freiberg promises a larger record mart than last year's, a vinyl "Spin Battle," vinyl trivia, dance contests, and an all-vinyl (of course) music DJ booth.

To commemorate Mr. Steinweiss and the "importance album cover art has had for generations," Vinyl Record Day is compiling the top 100 album covers of all time. Submissions are being sought from the general public and select industry professionals including Mr. Steinweiss. Anyone wanting to make suggestions for the list can nominate up to 100 covers prior to July 21. Submissions can be made at the event's website (www.VinylRecordDay.org) or faxed to (805) 528-1365.

Freiberg notes that Vinyl Record Day has been approved by the IRS as the first tax-deductible non-profit 501 (C) 3 organization dedicated equally to the preservation of the cultural influences, the recordings, and the cover art of the vinyl record. "Additionally, the objective is to create a national day dedicated to music, friends and family," says Freiberg. "Everyone has their personal soundtrack that connects them to fond memories of special times. It’s not [so much about being] nostalgic as it is about valuing the good things that music links us to."

Vinyl fans who can't make it to California's central coast can also participate. Freiberg says that he has been notified that VRD will be represented in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Texas, and Chicago by either music stores or radio stations. "Vinyl Record Day can be celebrated by anyone. We urge friends or family to get together and play vinyl for one another on August 16."

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