White plastic boxes packed with everything from rare 60’s Beatles originals to the newest vinyl were calmly rifled through as vendors recited production, artist and album history to anyone who would listen at KUSF’s Rock ’N’ Swap. Rock ‘N’ Swap has been one of KUSF’s major events for 35 years. The final swap event of the school year united music lovers from around the Bay to McClaren Hall to sell, swap and add to their record collections.
Reggie Valenzuela, a vendor with over 20 years of experience, explains vinyl’s newfound popularity. “It’s more collectible, which is weird because I don’t think everyone has record players,” he said, “You know, back in the day everyone had record players, and they don’t anymore. But people are buying still. It’s nostalgia, I guess.”
Vinyl’s regained popularity was easy to see in the room, as people in their 40s and 50s mingled with USF students as they searched for treasures to start or add to their collections. Ken Sanderson, a Rock ‘N’ Swap vendor for over 10 years, said, “In the 90’s, you couldn’t go on eBay, or anything like that, so the turnout was actually stronger, and then it dipped, but it’s come back strong again.”
“It’s better than a CD, you have the big picture, all the liner notes, and the sound, it’s clearer.” says Valenzuela, explaining why vinyl is the king of music formats. Some people at Rock ‘N’ Swap seemed to agree, as they skipped through CDs and cassettes, and headed straight to the records. But those looking for more portable high quality audio, were bound to find the perfect addition in the CD and cassette tables. Another popular area was KUSF’s booth, where people gathered to get free stickers and pins, because the only thing better than discounted records are free gifts.
Sanderson explains the joy of Rock ‘N’ Swap and collecting records as a fun but inescapable hobby. “Once you start buying a lot of records, you do what I call ‘buy to sell, and sell to buy’ cycle, and that’s the fun part of it. I always come here to look for those more obscure records, like “The Thing” movie soundtrack or weird punk records I couldn’t find anywhere else.”
Photos: Sofia Deeb/ Foghorn