The third annual Bloomington Music Expo will be held at the Monroe Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free and music merchandise will be sold while live artists perform.
Local DJs from WFHB, a Bloomington community radio station, will spin records from 10 a.m. to noon. Starting at noon, live acts for all ages will perform for about 45 minutes each.
Kid Kazooey & The Ballroom Roustabouts, a family band, will perform at noon. Internationally acclaimed boogie woogie piano player Craig Brenner will perform at 1 p.m. Folk rock band Rodeola will perform at 2 p.m. Headliner Jason Wilber will perform an acoustic rock act at 3 p.m.
Mike McAfee, executive director at Visit Bloomington, said the first Bloomington Music Expo was in 2019. The owners of Landlocked Music and WFHB, the owner of the Orbit Room, McAfee and some people from Secretly Canadian talked about the demand for a vinyl fair in Bloomington and decided to make it happen, McAfee said.
“It's been a huge success for us in 2019 and 2020 when we did it,” McAfee said. “We had about 1,000 people come to the event both years.”
As a vinyl collector, McAfee said listening to music on vinyl is a listening experience, unlike online streaming platforms. He described the records as artwork.
McAfee said the event is for everyone, from kids picking up their first vinyl record to people who have been collecting vinyl for 60 years. His goal is to turn the expo into a two- or three-day music conference in the future.
There will be about 16 or 17 vinyl vendors at the expo, and McAfee said some of them will bring thousands of records. Posters, t-shirts, CDs and other items will also be sold. Venues such as the Buskirk-Chumley Theater and IU Auditorium will also have booths to promote events and offer volunteer opportunities.
Author Stephen Deusner will also attend the expo to talk about his book “Where the Devil Don’t Stay: Traveling the South with the Drive-by Truckers.” The book is about the traveling rock band Drive-by Truckers and was declared one of the best music books of 2021 by Rolling Stone.
Americana musician Jason Wilber will perform at the expo after about 30 years of touring. He will be playing songs from his spring 2020 album “Time Traveler” along with some of his earlier records.
“I was inspired by records as a child,” Wilber said. “Really felt like putting those vinyl discs on the platter of a record player and dropping that needle on there. It kind of transported you to another world.”
Wilber said moving to Bloomington in high school and experiencing the vibrant music community was one of the things that inspired him to pursue his musical career. He said the Jacobs School of Music is one of the reasons Bloomington’s music community is what it is.
“It just creates a very fertile environment for collaboration and learning and being inspired by other musicians and discovering new music and things like that,” Wilber said. “So I think that's why Bloomington has given birth to so many great bands and musicians.”
Mike Klinge, owner of The Orbit Room, will host a kick-off event Friday night with a Saturday afterparty for adults 21 and older.
On Friday night, DJ Johnny Yuma will play rock records from 6-8 p.m. and DJ Wrightsoundz will spin soul records after that.
Starting at 6 p.m. Saturday night, Tim Carroll, former member of The Gizmos, will perform at The Orbit Room. Following Carroll, DJ Ol’ Dirty Bryce will play funk and soul music.
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior is required for all of these events. Masks are required in Monroe County.