On Sunday October 11, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre welcomes the public for a day of music, food and fun as it hosts the St. Augustine Record Fair, presented by local record store ToneVendor. In addition to having vendors who carry every bit of music paraphernalia you can think of, the event will have live music, food and drink available for purchase, and a wide range of activities for kids, making the event family-friendly. The best part? It’s free.
Dan Sostrom, long-time record enthusiast and owner of ToneVendor, is excited for this year’s event. He says it’s their biggest Record Fair yet, having added more vendors including local favorites The Hyppo, Kookaburra, The Vegan Hot Dog Cart, and Crave Food Truck; plus new performers, like Aslyn and the Naysayers, Burl, and Ghost Tropic. Here, he tells us everything the community needs to know about the upcoming fair.
Q&A WITH DAN SOSTROM OF TONEVENDER
Tell us a bit about your store ToneVendor?
ToneVendor is a vinyl-focused shop located at 81-D King Street. Although we are focused on vinyl, we have a great selection of CDs new and used, as well as audio gear and other miscellaneous items.
How did the idea of a record fair come about?
I moved to St. Augustine in early summer of 2013, and another resident at the time had done some small-scale record shows with a few vendors at various indoor venues. He moved out of town shortly after and asked me if I wanted to “take over” doing the shows. I was up for the challenge as well as excited at the prospect of seeing what I could do differently with it.
How long has this event been hosted at the Amphitheatre and why was this venue selected?
Our first Record Fair was two years ago (Fall 2013) and they have all been at the Amphitheatre. I’ve attended many record shows around the country for 20 years, either as a vendor or as a buyer, and they are all fairly similar: a somewhat bland environment, usually a conference room in a hotel or in a random location. When the opportunity to start doing a record show landed in my lap, I wanted to do a few unique things that aren’t typical of these types of events – things like incorporating activities for kids, and having a mini-festival feel with an open-air environment instead of some conference room or a bar or nightclub. I mentioned the idea to Ryan Murphy (General Manager at the Amphitheatre) and he was excited about it, so we took it from there.
What can visitors expect from this year’s event?
Each time we do the Record Fair, we have been slowly adding more vendors. This time we are adding three times more vendors, because our crowd has grown substantially. So there will definitely be a larger array of items than any previous event. Vendors don’t just bring vinyl records, they also bring CDs, books and magazines, collectibles, toys, posters, audio gear, and lots more. Just about anything related to music that you can think of. We have live music from 5 bands, a variety of food and beverages will be available for purchase from several vendors, and there are a bunch of kids’ activities including a bounce house, face painting, art projects, and a scavenger hunt. The family friendly atmosphere and open-air setting make this a truly unique record show that is enjoyable for all ages.
Who are some of the musical acts performing at this year’s fair? How do you select bands?
Historically we have tried to keep the bands all local from St. Augustine, but this time we have three local bands and two out-of-town bands playing. Aslyn and the Naysayers, Ghost Tropic and Burl are all from St. Augustine; UV-TV is from Gainesville; and there will be a special guest duo from Savannah known as the Graveface Pop-up Spectacle, which will include live music, free tattoos, scary ghost stories and more.
What do you consider to be the value of this event, for the community and for ToneVendor?
St. Augustine has so many terrific events all year long, many of them free, and we feel very proud that we can be part of that. The St. Augustine Record Fair is a great community event that is not just about selling records. It’s a great afternoon for anyone and everyone. I get surprised each and every time we do this event that there are many vinyl collectors who have no idea that our store exists, so the Record fair helps to promote our shop as well. The look of surprise and joy when they come into our shop for the first time is priceless. I’ve been complimented by dozens of people who have told me our store’s selection rivals that of the shops in New York or San Francisco, so it’s kind of fun to almost be this little secret tucked away on King Street in the oldest city… but it’s nice to have a lot of customers too!
What goes into planning an event like this?
We hold the St. Augustine Record Fair twice a year, so there is about six months of coordination effort involved. We first look at the available dates with the Amphitheatre and get that set. Then I start coordinating with all of the vendors. We collaborate on selecting entertainment and the other peripherals such as food trucks, and kids’ activities. We coordinate on artwork for the event, as well as marketing efforts. I suspect we work harder than most record shows out there across the country, but we want this to be the best show out there, something that is fun for everyone and not just the die-hard vinyl fanatics or collectors (although it is definitely for them too!).
Best part about putting on this event/plans for future record fairs:
Being a dad, I love bringing my family with me to outings like this, but inevitably the kids are bored to death after five minutes, so I think my favorite part is our family-friendly atmosphere. Also, seeing how excited everybody gets: the vendors, the buyers, the Amphitheatre staff, and the people who are there just to hang out — everyone really loves this event. We definitely have plans for future record fairs — we will continue hosting them twice a year, and each time we would like it to grow bigger and better.
The St. Augustine Record Fair is held Sunday October 11, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. For more information, visit www.staugamphitheatre.com. Follow along with event updates on Facebook here.