Music lover keeps record convention spinning

Music lover keeps record convention spinning

EUGENE, Ore. -- Bill Finneran has found his groove.

Over the past 20 years, the Eugene man has turned his huge record collection into the largest record convention in the Northwest.

This year's convention takes place Sunday at the Eugene Hilton. Audiophiles, professional buyers and ordinary people looking for that rare vinyl gem are expected to turn out. Finneran says vendors from all over the country will have some 50,000 to 100,000 records for sale.

Finneran insists "a record convention is for everybody, not just for record collectors." 

"We have a lot of people who come because they just love music and they want to look around. They still have a record player and they want to pick up stuff," Finneran said.

Finneran grew up in a house full of music.

"Mom and dad had a pile of records. The teenagers had a pile of music," he said.

 He remembers saving up the 75 cents for the first record he truly loved, The Byrds' version of "Mr. Tambourine Man."

 By the mid-70s, Finneran was a serious collector. 

"Your record collection really starts growing when you start doing the junking thing," he said. "Going to flea markets. Going  warehouses where they're trying to get rid of records. Going to thrift stores. Going to estate sales."

Today, Finneran says he owns some 20,000 records spread across three buildings on his property in Eugene.

He had his first convention in 1988 at the Hilton. He'd been to other conventions around the West Coast and said Eugene had enough of a cultural scene -- including progressive radio stations and music stores -- to make it successful.

But he didn't want it to be exclusive, full of rare, antique and often expensive records.

Instead, he wanted casual fans to have a chance to pick up an old favorite.

Finneran said more young people have been coming to the show in recent years.

"A lot of young people ditching their MP3 players and getting a decent stereo finally," he said. 

EUGENE RECORD CONVENTION

SUNDAY, JAN. 31

EUGENE HILTON

66 E. SIXTH AVE.

10 A.M. - 5 P.M.

www.myspace.com/eugenerecordconvention