Beat Swap Meet. Sounds weird right? Well, not to some people. This is all too familiar among people who collect vinyl records. You know those old school things we used to play on a record player, they came in two sizes twelve-inch and forty-fives? DJ’s, vinyl collectors, hipsters and music lovers alike all come down to the Los Angeles Chinatown neighborhood every three months for what they call the “Beat Swap Meet”.
This is not just any swap meet, it is a swap meet that brings culture, and music lovers together all for the purpose of vinyl records. I had the pleasure of seeing this event for the first time a week ago. B-boys dancing, tons of vendors selling nothing but vinyl , people of all ages, and even families all enjoyed this event. In the main quad area of Chinatown, we saw a live dj, spinning for some B-boy dance offs, even young ones got involved and showed up with their parents (as young as 7 years old).
I met a young boy in his teens who traveled from Vegas with his parents, alongside his dance crew. His crew performed in the b-boy showcase. It wasn’t a competition it was a showcase for the crews to show their stuff off for recognition. Beat Swap Meet was founded by a gentleman from Long Beach by the name of “Robby”. I had the privilege to talk to him and ask him a few questions about his event. The Beat Swap Meet has been going on for the last five years with it’s upcoming anniversary. The very first two swap meets were held in Echo Park, (a hip neighborhood on the eastside of Los Angeles). Then from Echo Park to it’s permanent home in the historical Chinatown neighborhood in LA. Robby mentioned how it was a little difficult at first to get the logistics to iron out, especially with the historical society.
It was hard for the historical society to envision his idea and basically to get their trust and see his vision. However it all worked out and his vision came to fruition. Robby says of the last five years “it’s been good”, so good that the event is now being held in other cities. Travels include: Las Vegas, Oakland and Chicago and, soon to come, Portland. The Las Vegas show was held three months ago for the first time and it brought out approximately four hundred people says Robby. Very pleased with the turnout, the next spot will be in Chicago.
The future is bright for “Robby” and his Beat Swap Meet vision. I can truly see this as a nationwide traveling event. I asked “Robby” if there was a statement that would sum up Beat Swap Meet, he said,
it’s not your regular record swap meet…