A Universe of Music at Your Fingertips Inside the Austin Record Convention

ARC runs Friday through Sunday at the Palmer Events Center

Courtesy of Austin Record Convention

Pandemic takeaway No. 33⅓: VINYL. Pandemic reality No. 3: complete and total supply chain abandonment.

"Recently at the Austin Record Convention, we've seen an uptick in indie labels signing up as vendors and selling their catalog," relays Nathan Hanners, son and partner of Doug Hanners, who first staged Austin's all-music swap meet in 1981. "If new inventory isn't being produced to sell, [the vinyl logjam] will dampen that trend. I saw that Jack White called on the major labels to invest in building their own vinyl pressing plants again. I hope they do."

Four decades in, music freaks far and wide trek to mecca to trawl two of the best ballrooms in town, packed with every conceivable form of music memorabilia known to humankind. That the Hanners bounced back last May from 2020 canceling both the spring and fall conventions felt like a furlough from the COVID psych ward.

"Big struggle to do the spring 2021 show," acknowledges Hanners, "but everyone was really supportive and cooperative. They were happy to do something familiar and fun after months and months of being stressed out."

And how. Any ground lost in seeding the next gen?

"We've seen an increasing number of younger people over the past few years, and a stronger response on our social media promotions. There are YouTubers attending the show and more and more people sharing their haul online in the days following it. It's awesome to see."

The Austin Record Convention comes to the Palmer Events Center (800 Barton Springs Rd.) Saturday-Sunday, May 7-8. High rollers can pay $30 to get in a day early. Everyone else pays $5.

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