Honolulu Record Sale: Before the Storm

If you missed the Friends of the Library of Hawaii Books & Music Sale this weekend, you missed aplenty—nearly 30,000 vinyl records waiting to be combed through. I had a chance to look around the warehouse before the collectors, who started lining up outside around 7:30 am, rushed the stacks of wax inside. Doors opened at 9:00 am.

If you missed the Friends of the Library of Hawaii Books & Music Sale this weekend, you missed aplenty.

As advertised, there were nearly 30,000 vinyl records waiting to be combed through by local collectors.

Thanks to the event’s organizer, a sweet (and busy) lady named Bird, I had a chance to look around the warehouse before the collectors, who started lining up outside around 7:30 am, rushed the stacks of wax inside.

FLH Music Sale 2012

Inside the Friends of the Library of Hawaii Annual Sale, about 30 minutes before the garage doors opened and collectors rushed in.

Near the front garage doors was the “Collectibles” section, where the most desirable* albums, singles, and 78s could be found. (*Completely subjective, curated by a guy who overlooked tons of gems in the rest of the warehouse’s selection.)

This is where most people went first, once the doors opened, of course.

FLH Music Sale 2012

The "Collectibles Corner" at the 2012 FLH Music Sale.

FLH Volunteers meandered the aisles, tidying books, CDs, magazines, and LPs as they went along.

Everyone was happy to lend a hand—all proceeds from the sale go to the Hawaii State Public Library System.

One volunteer told me I was too young to be listening to records. On the contrary.

FLH Music Sale 2012

FLH Music Sale 2012

Out back, the green, rolling hills of Kakaako Waterfront Park rose past the chain link fence bordering the warehouse perimeters, the sky a deep, gorgeous blue.

Nearby, flights left Honolulu International Airport for a destination unknown to us, slowly moving through the clouds, heading out over the Pacific Ocean.

In back of the warehouse. No records to be found out here!

In back of the warehouse. No records to be found out here!

FLH Music Sale 2012

And out front, collectors mingled, talking story about rare jazz 78s, Ghost World, legendary Hawaiian musicians, last night’s Dublab show, and how the 2011 FLH record fair was a crapshoot—hardly anyone found anything, apparently (I wasn’t there last year).

Some people couldn’t stand the wait. They peered in through dingy, tiny windows to catch hints of the setup. Not sure if that helped any.

FLH Music Sale 2012

When volunteers finally started opening the garage doors, collectors had a clear idea of the layout. Collectibles Corner, Hawaiian, Jazz, Pop, Country, Classical, Folk.

There was something for every taste, and everyone wanted in already!

FLH Music Sale 2012

Awaiting entry into the warehouse, 8:45 am. Official start time was 9 am—that's 15 minutes of bittersweet anticipation.

Hawaiian LPs at the FLH Music Sale 2012

Hawaiian LPs all lined up.

Hawaii’s crate digging scene is much less competitive than other parts of America, there are fewer collectors on the island than, say, New Jersey or Seattle.

The people are friendly. They won’t cut in line if you need to move your car. When we had to relocate to another garage door 50 feet south, everyone took their same spots in line.

Talking story outside.

Talking story outside.

I had a great time chatting with other collectors. Many of them are my friends. Some of them are looking for the same stuff I am: Hawaiian funk, soul, and jazz. But if there’s something I don’t have, like a rare LP from a local jazz guitarist (more on this later), no one hesitates to offer me a listen.

After all, we do this for the love of music.

FLH Music Sale 2012

A portable turntable is essential for a record fair like this.

It’s late—2 am on a Sunday—so I’ll wrap this up.

If you want to see more photos from the record sale, follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more blog posts about my finds at the Friends of the Library record sale!

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