On the 8th of September, you can find us at the biggest one-day record fair in London, the London Victoria Record Fair at the Horticultural Halls. We’re looking forward to meeting you, hearing your feedback and answering any questions you may have. And we’ll bring some goodies of course! It will be our first time there, so we contacted organiser Rob Lythall of VIP Events to find out more about the event, and to hear what drives him to organise more than 50 record related events a year!
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I think I am a teenager, but the mirror and birth certificate put me at 60 years old. Early teens I quickly got into the early 70s UK pop music from T-Rex and Slade through to Mud and The Sweet. From the Youth Club days I discovered the joy of dancing to soul music and within years had a northern soul record collection, DJ spots and a record business. 40 years later I like Soul, Rock Reggae, Dance – most genres of music. I am married with 3 grown up children and a keen Leicester City and Leicester Tigers fan.
How did you get into organising record fairs?
I discovered UK Record Fairs in the late 1970s where I sold off excess records and felt I could put on similar shows. I started in my hometown of Leicester in the early 1980s. Flash forward 40+ years and we have developed some of the UK’s major Record Fairs at venues like Wembley, Olympia, NEC, NIA and Glasgow’s SECC. We currently operate in 16 venues and promote over 50 events per year – I am told no one else in Record Collecting runs as many events. We also run a mail order business so we are always busy!
What does the VIP Events team look like?
We have a core team of 4 full-timers and several part-timers who work the events.
I am the boss, John Wallace is Fair Manager of all events backed by Ryan Walden who is Assistant Fair Manager.
What do you like most about the job?
I am a people person and still love working for and with the sellers and visitors to our fairs. Many I have known for decades, seen them get married, have children and even grandchildren. The biggest joy is to see new, younger music fans visiting our events to both buy and sell. We try to look after them, deliver good events and make the experience worthwhile.
Do you collect records yourself?
Sold some time ago unfortunately although I am picking up the odd 60s and 70s soul platter.
What was your best find at a record fair?
The one that got away – Sex Pistols A&M God Save The Queen original. 25 copies £500. Milton Keynes Record Fair early 1980s. Being a soul boy I knew little about the band and passed the deal on to another seller. Probably best that I majored in running record fairs!
What can visitors expect at the London Victoria Fair?
This event takes place in a beautiful, well lit hall in the centre of London. Usually fully booked with sellers, many save up their best finds to sell at this one show. There are many experts on stalls from The Beatles to Sex Pistols and Prog to Reggae. With the £UK currency quite low many European buyers visit to pick up well priced items for shops back home. Superb Café on site.