Day: November 2nd, 2007

Music for the Masses

Friday, November 2nd, 2007 | All Things, Events, Music

WFMU — “woof-moo” — is the famously eclectic, listener-supported, freeform radio station broadcasting throughout New York City and Metro New Jersey at 91.1FM, 90.1 FM in the Lower Catskills, Hudson Valley, Western New Jersey, and Eastern Pennsylvania. Along with its traditional radio broadcast — four times named the best in the nation by Rolling Stone — WFMU also broadcasts live over the internet.

The WFMU Record and CD Fair is the station’s biggest and most-anticipated event. Twice a year, the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea hosts the fundraiser: three days of buying, selling, and trading CDs and vinyl, with all door proceeds going to benefit the independent station. Very different from the last time I was here for a shopping event. It’s quite a scene, actually: as much a party as it is a sale. Over 200 dealers from around the world set up long tables stacked with every genre of music imaginable… and several I’d never even heard of. Gabber? Illbient?

I’d never really thought of music shopping as a gender-specific endeavor, but the clientele this night was strikingly male-dominated. The food offerings reflected that: beer and pizza only. In one corner, Two Boots Pizza had set up a makeshift stand, with some admittedly dreary-looking reheated pizza, which nonetheless sold out before the night was half over. (I held out for basil beef at Pongsri Thai.)

Those “desperate collectors” eager to get first crack at the stock of the weekend-long sale could pay $20 for access during the first three hours; we paid $6 to browse with the rest of the masses after work on Friday.

WFMU sale

WFMU sale

WFMU records

The WFMU Wheel-o-Fate — $1 a spin for a chance at fabulous prizes:

WFMU wheel

Puerto Rican rapper Tego Calderón‘s DJ set.

WFMU broadcast

We spent the next couple of hours happily sifting through milkcrates and cardboard boxes crammed with music, old and new, familiar and obscure. There was a time when I would wile away hours just like this. Not in years, though. In the age of iTunes are gatherings like these destined for obsolescence?

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