Amplif[ie]d | The Inland Empire Record Collective

By: Natalie Bates

In the age of technology, it is easy to forget about the things of the past as we get caught up in the search for the next “big thing.” However newer isn’t always better, and it is that appreciation for the classics that the Inland Empire Record Collective strives to bring to the Inland Empire.


The Inland Empire Record Collective is a swap-meet style record show based in Downtown Riverside featuring over 40 vendors selling vinyl records from all different genres. 12”, LPs or 45s . . . if it was released on vinyl, they will most likely have it.

I was able to speak with the Inland Empire Record Collective founder, Matthew Arellano, about this cool and unique event. Arellano explained the vision behind the collective, “We’re just trying to build a vinyl culture out here. I came up with the idea about three years ago. I started going to a lot of these record shows that were here in California and in other states, and we started wondering why we didn’t have any in Riverside or the Inland Empire. We always had to drive far, out to LA or Pasadena. So we decided to do something in our own backyard.”


Choosing Downtown Riverside as a home base for the show was an obvious choice. Arellano DJs at Worthington’s Tavern on University Avenue every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and he decided to use Worthington’s as the home base for the show. Worthington’s provided a place for them to have the freedom to do what they wanted to do with the vinyl. “We have a home where we can do certain events. We do a vinyl night there once a month on the third Wednesday called “Hot Wax” where we play all vinyl.” In addition, Riverside has a huge music scene. Unlike a lot of the other record shows out there that are genre specific, Arellano wanted to keep the show open to all types of music so they could cater to all vinyl record enthusiasts.


Arellano’s interest in vinyl records started at a young age. “I’m a music lover . . . I got my first record collection from my dad when I was young, and he just kinda handed it on. It was a crate of just rock records. My dad grew up in the seventies and he just loved rock ‘n’ roll. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd . . . those were my first records.” However it was his sister’s boyfriend who introduced him to the DJ-ing side of vinyl, and he has continued to be a big influence on why Arellano still collects records today. The two of them, in addition to Arellano’s older brother, came together to form the Inland Empire Record Collective, and it has since grown into a whole community of friends, musicians, DJs and collectors. “People still play vinyl! I’ll buy a record just for one songm and from there I’ll listen to the album and discover a lot of other great songs I didn’t even know about.”


The Inland Empire Record Collective has grown so big over the past three years that they have already outgrown their current location. “The possibilities are endless now because the show has grown so well. I have a lot of people involved now, and it keeps growing and growing. The number of people coming has already doubled since we first started.” Arellano has been considering expanding the show, but plans to take it one step at a time to ensure the survival of the show: “I want our show to be really consistent and around for years and years to come.” He would like to see the show expand to 100+ vendors within the next few years, and maybe even start shutting down streets in the city to host the event. Arellano plans to stay in the same area as their current location, but also possibly start taking the show to other cities. “There are a lot of other cities like Riverside where people don’t have an outlet or place to buy vinyl. We want to show people there is more music out there than just what is on the radio.”

While the show is predominantly record vendors, they also have booths selling food, art and clothing, as well as booths set up by their sponsors. They even have a kid’s booth with coloring books and stuff to keep children entertained. “We’re trying to make it a community event where the parents and kids can come together and bring everybody, and everyone can have a good time.” Every show features a mix of new and returning vendors, so there is always something new to see.


In addition to their record shows, the Inland Empire Record Collective also sets up a booth at the monthly artwalk in downtown Riverside in front of Worthington’s Tavern. Occurring on the first Thursday of every month, the artwalk provides a good opportunity to help them gain exposure and interest within the community. They usually have between two and three vendors selling vinyl records present during the artwalk. Arellano says, “A lot of the people who were never interested before or didn’t know where to go to get vinyl—now they know: Worthington’s. We do the artwalk in front, and the record collective behind the building.”

It was a lot of hard work for Arellano and his team to get the show started, and they had to get through a great deal of judgment and lack of interest due to people not wanting to get onboard because the show was new and un-established. But after spending some time connecting with vendors at other record shows, Arellano and his team have built a supportive community who came together through a shared love of music. Referring to the Inland Empire Record Collective, Arellano stated, “This is my baby. I’ve learned that not rushing it or making hasty decisions is what has let it grow into what it is now.”


Be sure to check out the next Inland Empire Record Collective show on Saturday November 21, 2015 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Located in Parking Lot #16 by Worthington’s Tavern, 3587 University Avenue, Riverside, CA, 92501. Free event!!

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