The Bay Area is rich, and I mean rich with independent record labels and on Saturday, February 15, 2014, twenty-four of them descend on Thee Parkside to sell their wares and talk shop. The Bay Area Record Label Fair (B.A.R.F.) is a chance to hang with your favorite labels and possibly discover something new. Maybe you're into the well-respected punk of Fat Wreck Chords, with bands like Against Me! (before they "sold out"), The Lawrence Arms, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, or NOFX. Or perhaps you prefer the edgy garage rock on Castle Face Records -- the folks who bring you The Fresh & Onlys, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, and The Mallard (should I keep going?). Or for the purist, Empty Cellar Records will be there with a selection of strictly-vinyl releases on display. With so many labels in attendance, there's bound to be a little something for everyone.
B.A.R.F. is produced by Father/Daughter Records and Professional Fans. Labels tend to hide in the background, working their tails off to help independent musicians and bands make records, promote themselves, and book shows. So you've probably never heard of these guys -- Jessi Frick (Father/Daughter Records), Gregory Hill, Katie Kopacz, and Marisa Breall (Professional Fans) -- but they are hard at work promoting local music, running their labels, and organizing exciting live music around the Bay. Jessi Frick told KQED Arts: "B.A.R.F. is giving the humans behind the Twitter handles a platform to create conversation, make connections, and just have fun. It's easy to get lost in the day-to-day label operations. It's also a great chance for the labels to directly connect with their fans and vice versa."
If your idea of a perfect Saturday is spending five hours perusing records in a shop and you're too shy to actually geek out on music with your favorite labels, then you're in luck. Aquarius Records, Explorist International, Vinyl Dreams and Amoeba Music will be there to help you ease out of your shell. Dog Party, Twin Steps, Cocktails, and Al Lover will grace the stage throughout the day as well. So, while this event started off as a way for record labels and vinyl retailers to come together in one place, Frick says it's exciting for the public too. "It's giving them an inside look at their favorite labels and hopefully inspires someone to take a chance in music. This industry can never have enough risk takers -- it keeps things interesting, that's for sure."
The Bay Area Record Label Fair (B.A.R.F.) is on Noon to 5pm, Saturday, February 15, 2014 at Thee Parkside in San Francisco. The event is free and all ages. A $5 raffle ticket will get two lucky winners a grab bag filled with records from participating labels, gift certificates from local record shops, and a limited-edition screen-printed B.A.R.F. tote from San Franpsycho. For more information visit the B.A.R.F. Facebook event page or <Thee Parkside at theeparkside.com.