Every vinyl record has a story to tell. A new event in Fayetteville will let collectors share those stories.
In what amounts to a grownup show and tell (with drinks!), vinyl enthusiasts will gather Wednesday at Stage Eighteen on Center Street in Fayetteville for the first Bring Your Own Vinyl Night. Participants need only to show up with a favorite record and have a story ready to share.
What: Bring Your Own Vinyl Night
When: 8 p.m. July 19
Where: Stage Eighteen, Fayetteville
A turntable will be placed on the stage, and a nearby microphone will allow its owner to describe why their song of choice is on their mind or has a special significance to them. The event will be hosted by Leigh Wood, a vinyl collector and the host of the KUAF program “The Vinyl Hour,” which airs at 5 p.m. each Sunday on KUAF-3, a digital stream of the public radio station. The show is produced by Wood and features area audiophiles sharing an hour of themed programming sourced from vinyl records.
Stage Eighteen founder and co-owner Lauren Embree was looking for interesting things to host at the bar and didn’t want a trivia night like so many other local watering holes. Then business partner Caleb Clark hauled in his record player and inspiration struck.
“Caleb brought his turntable one night, and it just kind of clicked,” she said. Embree’s idea was to create a new community for vinyl lovers. Embree contacted Wood, knowing her work on “The Vinyl Hour.” Wood agreed and started organizing the event, which debuts Wednesday. Embree and Wood plan to build Bring Your Own Vinyl into a monthly event.
Passionate appreciation of music is not exclusive to vinyl recordings. But Wood has found through her radio program there’s something special about the medium. Vinyl, which has made a striking sales comeback in recent years, is a more active way to listen to music. With a streaming service, a listener can bounce between tracks or even forget what they’ve started as an algorithm suggests a different artist or genre. But vinyl records require attention every 20 minutes or so to change sides, and there’s the matter of holding an album, looking at the artwork and being able to read the liner notes.
“Music is personal. But vinyl gives another layer. It’s a tangible thing,” she said.
Wood’s “Vinyl Hour” guests have traveled the world to collect records, and they sometimes relentlessly search for the perfect find. The details of the search and why those records matter to the collector make up the drama of “The Vinyl Hour” and will also make for a compelling night of conversation during the Vinyl Night event.
“So far, it has not stopped being fascinating,” Wood said.
There are no current parameters for the Bring Your Own Vinyl Night event. Participants will show up, and they’ll play the music they brought. The hope is that a flow can be established to create a playlist of sorts, with one song serving as the inspiration for the next. The audience will self-regulate the order of the songs. Wood says she may consider a sign-in sheet if a large crowd requires it.
Either way, the playlist will be determined by what people bring with them. Wood finds that guests struggle to whittle down their list of favorites to eight or 10 songs for their “Vinyl Hour” segments. That’s likely to be exacerbated by the Bring Your Own Vinyl format where everyone gets a song. Wood recommends bringing the album you’ve been spending time with recently. The stories about it will be fresh, and the song will make you happy, too.
“Bring the record you love right now,” Wood says.
And bring a story to go with it.