By Lethbridge Herald on September 16, 2017.
The air was filled with Love and Records at Galt Gardens on Saturday as hundreds came out to dig for hidden musical treasures and take in the late summer fair atmosphere.
This is the seventh year for Western Canada’s largest outdoor record fair and music festival, known as much for its mountains of vinyl, cassettes and CDs for festival-goers to peruse as it is as a stage and venue for live musical acts to connect with local residents.
The event is presented by 88.3 FM CKXU, the University of Lethbridge radio station.
James Marshalsay, operations director for Love and Records, said the event represents a kind of block party which is free and open to everyone as a way for the station to celebrate their community focus.
“We like to make sure the community aspect is represented,” he said. “Our block party is a music festival, but also a record fair, because being a campus community radio station full of music nerds, we want to make sure we have all our favourite albums on vinyl.
“So we decided to have this record fair, and we added some bands, and it’s just grown every year.”
This year, the stage was moved out of the permanent structure in Galt Gardens and onto the grass to better facilitate the crowds who come to take in the live music.
Headline acts included Cold Specks and Weaves, both of whom have previously been nominated for Polaris Music Prizes. Weaves was nominated for a Juno Award this year in the Alternative Album of the Year category.
The lineup also featured a number of acts from Calgary, as well as several local acts Marshalsay said should be on everyone’s radar.
“Fox Eyes is amazing,” he said. “Such a gem from Lethbridge that definitely needs to get more exposure.”
He also noted local acts J Blissette and John Wort Hannam who need to be seen.
“We’re trying to make sure the local and national music scene is available to people in Lethbridge,” Marshalsay said.
“The merging of a record fair and a music festival creates a unique experience that is unparalleled in the city. And support from the community and the city is so important, because it brings a collective spirit. It’s an eclectic experience.”
That experience includes art, live music, vendors, beer gardens and food trucks all in one place.
The popularity of the festival also speaks to the evergreen quality of different music formats. At Love and Records, LPs are king. But they share table space with 8-tracks, cassettes and CDs as well.
“Music fans want something tangible,” Marshalsay said. “In this age, we have the digital medium and everyone can listen to music, but to really appreciate music, people want something physical.
“Fandom is something they want to have expressed physically. Not just (digital).”
In true university radio fashion, the event also featured the first candidate’s forum in the city for the upcoming municipal election.
“The people who are coming to events like this can know who to vote for,” said Marshalsay. “And to make sure that events like this continue to happen in our city.”
He added the presence of summer festivals such as Love and Records are vital to a vibrant cultural scene and as a way to provide events where local residents can come out, be themselves and be together.
“(These events) aren’t only for a few in Lethbridge,” he said. “They are for everyone in Lethbridge.”
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