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Music Mash 2013 boasts Rock Hall of Famers

Published 3:31 pm, Tuesday, September 3, 2013
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Fairfield Theatre Company, 70 Sanford St., Fairfield. Saturday, Sept. 7, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. $5, free 12 and younger, $20 early-bird hours from 8 to 10 a.m. 203-331-9756, www.wpkn.org.
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As a noncommercial radio station, Bridgeport-based WPKN is always on the lookout for fun ways to get the community involved, while raising money to help finance its operating budget.

WPKN General Manager Steve di Costanzo thinks the station has just the thing in Music Mash 2013, a record fair that will take place Saturday, Sept. 7, in the annex of the Fairfield Theatre Company.

"Other radio stations around the country have been using the record fair as an interesting avenue for additional revenue," di Costanzo said in a recent phone interview. "I've been attending WFMU's record fair down in New York for years and that show is huge.

"We're not going to be that big. We're trying to keep it limited to 50 tables, and we're pretty much sold out of those. We want to make sure that everybody is very, very excited for this first go-around. We don't need to have 100 tables."

In addition to thousands of CDs, vinyl LPs and 45s, Music Mash 2013 also will feature food trucks from Bridgeport's Taco Loco and Fire Engine Pizza Company and Norwalk's Cowabunga, as well as the Vintanthromodern Vintage Clothing Truck from New Haven and a booth featuring Malcolm Tent's Danbury-based Trash American Style.

Guests scheduled to appear at the WPKN booth include three members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, Fairfield residents and founding members of both Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club; and Hilton Valentine, original guitarist with the Animals. Rusty Ford, of late-1960s psychedelic rock band Lothar and the Hand People, also will be on hand.

Frantz' involvement with WPKN runs deep, as he has not only appeared at several fundraisers for the station, but also hosts his own program, "Chris Frantz the Talking Head," on the last Friday of each month from 4 to 7 p.m. WPKN can be found at 89.5 on the FM dial.

"And we're going to have some DJs," di Costanzo said. "We're going to have an area set up to spin some vinyl, and our programmers are going to be doing some DJ sets all day long."

But the big draw will be the record fair, which WPKN is running with the help of Record Riots, which stages several events like this each year.

"They have a show called the Brooklyn Record Riot and they have a show in New Haven and one in Philadelphia," di Costanzo said. "They're really dialed in to the dealer crowd, the top New England dealers, and they know a lot of the big collectors in the area."

One of the biggest dealers at Music Mash 2013 may very well be WPKN, which will be selling thousands of items that were donated to the station.

"We've got so much vinyl here and so many CDs," di Costanzo said. "Over the years, people have donated so much vinyl that we had storage lockers full of quality stuff, so we thought we'd try to put that out there.

"We've got quite a collection ourselves. We have a couple of donated collections and each of them are probably worth $10,000. And that's just our four tables, so there are going to be a lot of interesting things -- CDs, LPs, 45s -- and in pretty much every genre."

The FTC's annex, which has hosted farmers' markets in the past, appeals to di Costanzo for its location, as well as its proximity to the main train station in Fairfield.

"We've been working with FTC on some different projects and we thought that would be a nice, central location," he said. "It's only about 60 yards from the train station, so we expect a lot of people to come on Metro-North from New York, Brooklyn, New Haven, and we expect some people to make their way from Long Island.

"We think it will be a lot of fun and we feel that it will become an annual event. There have been other radio stations that have had success with their record fairs, and ours will be so centrally located."

Admission is $5, but any early birds that want to get the first crack at the record crates can enter from 8 to 10 a.m. for a $20 fee.

"The first two hours are going to see the real crate-diggers and collectors that want to get in early and get some stuff, and that's when a lot of dealers trade with each other," di Costanzo said. "From 10 a.m. until 5:30, there's a pretty nominal fee to get in and it all goes as a donation to WPKN. We're a nonprofit, so it's a good cause. We don't have the world's biggest budget."

sspillane@ctpost.com; 203-330-6355

Fairfield Theatre Company, 70 Sanford St., Fairfield. Saturday, Sept. 7, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. $5; free 12, younger; $20 early-bird hours 8-10 a.m. 203-331-9756, www.wpkn.org.