Big Grove Vinyl Market returns to Iowa City, launches next month in Des Moines

Big Grove Vinyl Market

Sunday, Sept. 25 at 12 p.m., Big Grove Brewery Iowa City

Big Grove Vinyl Market

Sunday Oct. 2 at 12 p.m., Big Grove Brewery Des Moines

Brian Brandsgard in his element at a previous market at Big Grove. — courtesy of Brian Brandsgard

“It’s a fun atmosphere to sell records in,” Brian Brandsgard told Little Village of the aesthetics and energy Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City. “It’s just a perfect place to have it.”

Brandsgard is the organizer of the Big Grove Vinyl Market, which he has held periodically at the brewery since it opened five years ago. Now, in the wake of the brewery’s recent expansion to Des Moines, Brandsgard is testing the waters there, too.

Big Grove Vinyl Market, coming up on Sunday, Sept. 25 at Big Grove Brewery Iowa City and Sunday, Oct. 2 at Big Grove Brewery Des Moines, will feature vendors from across Iowa and Minnesota. Included on the list of those selling is Brandsgard himself, whose introduction to selling vinyl arose out of a period of tragedy in Iowa’s history.

A lifelong music fan, Brandsgard began collecting records as a child growing up in central Iowa.

“We were really big fans of the Beatles,” he said. “And there was this little sewing shop in Humboldt that, for whatever reason, sold 45 records. We would go up there twice a week to see if they got any Beatles 45s in. And then we started buying Rolling Stones and the Who, Led Zeppelin, all that stuff.”

As his appreciation for music grew, so too did his love for collecting.

“In college I had a pretty decent sized collection of everything,” Brandsgard continued. “A lot of jazz, a lot of blues, classic rock, things like that.”

Then, a few years later, disaster struck. Amid the widespread flooding across the state in 1993, Brandsgard’s home took on water. Among the property damaged was his entire record collection.

It took Brandsgard a few years to revive his interest. It wasn’t until the late 1990s, he said, that he started buying again.

“I started to find more and more stuff and replenishing my collection,” he said. “Then I found out from people that they put on these record shows.”

He began to buy other people’s collections, and vendors from shows he was attending encouraged him to set up a booth of his own. Nine years ago he attended his first show as a vendor, and he continues to buy and sell, in part, to round out his own hobby.

“A lot of that stuff, when I run across a collection, I keep it for my personal use,” he said.

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Since then he’s been a regular at events across the midwest, selling at shows and pop-up events as Bog’s Vinyl, and his own collection has swelled to around 3,000 pieces.

“I’m a vinyl enthusiast, as my daughter would say, but I’m in the business of buying and reselling,” Brandsgard said.

Bog’s Vinyl will be one of six vendors on hand at the Sept. 25 Big Grove Vinyl Market in Iowa City. Also appearing will be Nate’s Record Resale (Davenport), No Skip Records (Des Moines), Rochester Records (Rochester, MN), Sweet Livin’ Antiques Art & Records (Iowa City) and Vinyl Underground Garage (Cedar Rapids).

Brandsgard has been running shows two or three times annually since he began organizing the Vinyl Market events at Big Grove. Each event attracts several hundred attendees, who Brandsgard said get to enjoy “music and beer and good food and good drink.”

Next month, he will be hosting the inaugural Vinyl Market at Big Grove Brewery’s new Des Moines location. That Oct. 2 event will feature several familiar faces — Bog’s Vinyl, No Skip Records, Rochester Records — in addition to a few local Des Moines vendors including Zzz Records, Vinyl Cup Records and ME Records.

While vinyl is the main attraction of these events, vendors will also be selling other music-related items and paraphernalia, including CDs and concert t-shirts, which Brandsgard believes helps give his Vinyl Markets a unique quality.

“We just want to encourage people to come out and give it a shot and see what they think,” he said.