Sequim Record Show bringing the jams

Clearly a lover of music, Gary Butler — who founded the Sequim Record show in 2023 — lists among his favorites Tom Petty, Nathaniel Rateliff, and arena rock from the 1970s.

He and the other music lovers prepped to staff the event are eager to open their collections up to the public at large this week.

The Sequim Record Show is dropping the needle for the second time from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, at the Guy Cole Event Center, 144 N. Blake Ave.

Following the all around success of the event last year, this year’s event is more of the same, with even more record vendors fit into the event center.

The 2024 show will have as many as 50 tables brimmed with vinyl records, tapes and CDs, but mostly vinyl.

This year’s vendors include Quimper Sound Records, Vinyl Injection, LP Browser, Peninsula Music Enter, Wax Monger Records, Resurrection Vinyl, Dead Pedal Press Records and Most Making Records INC. Sequim’s KSQM 91.5 FM radio station volunteers will also be selling vinyl records and CDs. Attendees should expect to find records of all genres; classical, jazz, R&B, pop, every kind of rock, electronic, and Hip-Hop.

Last year’s inaugural show saw a steady stream of customers from opening to close. Many of the vendors reported personal best days.

Among the first year’s customers was Sequim DJ Colin Schmidt — or DJ Raw Kale Salad. Schmidt plays vinyl exclusively during his wedding and party sets.

Sequim Gazette photo by Elijah Sussman / Gary Butler frames his copy of David Bowie’s “Young Americans” at The Guy Cole Center on May 30.

Sequim Gazette photo by Elijah Sussman / Gary Butler frames his copy of David Bowie’s “Young Americans” at The Guy Cole Center on May 30.

“People are excited and interested to see me working with vinyl,” Schmidt said. While DJ-ing from a computer is still the norm, his approach gives another level of credibility and an authentic sound to many of the genres he plays.

Schmidt said he was excited to see the event was happening and attended the first annual event, walking away with a live Miles Davis record and some James Brown 7 inch records.

The comeback of vinyl

Vinyl has had a major resurgence in recent years and, in 2022, it officially overtook CD sales, reclaiming its throne for the first time since cassette tapes took the top spot in 1985.

Vinyl is more expensive, requires more storage space, and though many prefer it sonically, is very arguably noisier than CDs. So why are consumers so eager to spend their extra pocket change on this vintage format? For one, it is a more ritualistic process which naturally draws its listeners attention. Streaming audio on a phone could mean running into any number of distractions, one might find themselves unconsciously answering a stressful email halfway through the first chorus.

With vinyl, listening can be the activity, and even if one loses track of the music, focus is often restored when the side finishes, indicating that it’s time to flip the disk.

Another draw is that record covers, additional artwork and lyrics have the physical space to be appreciated on vinyl, and many collectors appreciate this, keeping their favorite records on display.

Finally, people love the sounds of vinyl. While the crackles, pops, hiss, and fuzz weren’t historically intended as a part of the music’s sound, recordings with these artifacts have become a nostalgic preference for many. Collectors enthuse about the warmth of the sound.

Music lover goes pro with vinyl

Butler got his first records in the 1970s; he was given a Heart and a Boston record. He was also given a used stereo set-up.

“Sunday is yacht rock day now, it’s the day for spinning records,” he said.

Butler took a break in the 1990s as CDs overtook vinyl in sales and production, but he held on to his collection and had a player in his garage he would fire up occasionally.

A longtime side-hustler on Ebay and Amazon, Butler one day realised people were selling records on these marketplaces. He started tracking the trend, and it just kept growing.

When the owner of Port Angeles shop Coog’s Budget CDs, Tapes & Records invited him to share a table at Port Townsend Record Show, he agreed to do so, with very little expectation. The first year he did OK, but more than anything, he realised that he liked being in the event, talking shop with his fellow record slinging community.

In subsequent years, Butler dialed some stuff in and has been a regular vendor ever since.

At the Port Townsend Record show in March 2023, Butler started wondering about the possibility of having a record show in Sequim. One day, as he walked out of the maintenance shop at Carrie Blake Community Park — where he works as a maintenance worker for the City of Sequim — the thought of hosting the event across the way at the Guy Cole Event Center entered his mind. He spoke with the organizers at the Port Townsend Record Show to be sure that his project wouldn’t step on the toes of theirs. They were eager to see the show happen in Sequim.

“I like to keep it kind of basic and simple: we have a conservative area in our living to display some records next our vintage console stereo,” Butler said.

“Basic and simple” is relative term; in 2020, Butler’s pandemic project was to build a 20-foot-by-20-foot warehouse for his online business storage, which primarily holds records. He has about 3,000 for online sale and another 1,000 premium records, the ones he brings to shows.