"Passion For Vinyl"—The Utrecht Mega Platen & CD Beurs Day One

If set-up day was cold, dark and less than pleasant, day one of the Utrecht Mega Platen Record Fair was warm, crowded and festive. With both the lights and heating system on and the enormous exhibition hall packed with record fanatics, it was a full day of fun for vinyl lovers from around the world.

How to navigate the place was the first bit of business. It quickly became clear that the rows were roughly organized by musical genre and format, with funk, jazz, reggae and blues vendors in one area and rockers in another—but that's a rough approximation. Each vendor's country of origin was identified in front of the booths, which helped.

My main interest was looking for U.K. pressings of U.K. artists. I'm mainly a "country of origin" buyer so I didn't see the purpose of hitting the French, Italian, German Dutch or Japanese booths first, though I planned to go back later. It made little sense to buy American records in The Netherlands since here they are "imports" and overall fetch a premium price, though a few vendors had obviously gone to the U.S. and brought back boxes of "bulk" American records.

Whatever you were looking for on vinyl was here. If you had big bucks you could buy most Pink Label Island or "swirl" Vertigo pressings, but at a premium. A big premium. If you wanted Beatles and Stones originals they were here but not in the numbers I was expecting. I was hoping to score an back-up Abbey Road but it had to be an original UK pressing in the black inner sleeve. I was willing to pay a lot for one but didn't find one—at least on day one.

I had the most fun at the booth of a UK based vendor who had brought thousands of U.K. pressings and was selling them for 3 Euro each. There was no order to them and you just had to crate-dig through all kinds of stuff. I found a clean original Island Catch Bull At Four a Deram Days of Future Past, a Roxy Music Siren and Talk Talk's It's My Life. Not bad for 3 Euro each. Okay not the most adventurous stuff and I already had copies but….

The records hanging on the walls behind the booths indicated that I was lucky to have bought most of my records when they were first released because I couldn't afford to buy them now! That goes for Stones, Beatles, Who, Small Faces, Fairport Convention, Traffic, etc. A clean Pink Label Island What We Did On Our Holidays was going for 200 Euro! Yikes!

However, while record shopping was fun, I flew over mainly to help launch Dutch journalist Robert Haagsma's book "Passion For Vinyl", which was "instigated" by Record Industry pressing plant owner Ton Vermeulen. Haagsma had interviewed me when I visited last spring later gave me the opportunity to write the book's forward but I didn't get to see or read any of it until I arrived here Friday morning.

The book's subtitle "A Tribute to ALL Who Dig the Groove" tells the story. The book profiles a diverse group of vinyl lovers from around the world, including many you know like Henry Rollins, Bernie Grundman, Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman, Discogs.com founder and CEO Kevin Lewandowski and cutting lathe master Sean Davies (a real "analog guru") to some you don't, but all have interesting stories to tell and fascinating backgrounds. I haven't had time yet to read all of it, but what's most striking is the diversity of musical tastes. Also profiled, most appropriately, are the people who started the Utrecht Record Fair, now the world's largest. I was told between 20 and 30 THOUSAND people are expected to attend this year's fair.

So at 1PM on Saturday I sat down at the Record Industry booth along with the author, Mr. Davies and a few others profiled in the book to autograph copies should anyone want that. More did than I had expected! I also met many analogplanet.com fans. If day 2 is anything like day 1, it's going to be a blast!

Paul Boudreau's picture

Is the book in English or perhaps you read Dutch?

mraudioguru's picture

Here is the website for the book;


I could only find it for sale on Amazon UK, but hopefully, it will be available in the US?

Hey Mike, what's the chance of you bringing back a few copies for sale here?  I would like to buy one.  Thanks!

Jeffczar's picture

Great score. Everyone who is a fan of this album should hear the original and that is only available on the original Deram.  All the CD versions were remixed and the result is quite different than the original.  The original masters were destroyed in a fire in the early 70s. The mix of the original is quite different and I have always thought far superior.  The most obvious spots are the harmony in "Evening Time To Get Away" and vocal/mellatron balance during "Dawn Is A Feeling".  This I am sure is geek territory but interesting to a lifelong fanatic of this album !

TommyTunes's picture

Every year I contemplate a European “vacation” to pick up the few remaining “must have’s” however after reading you comments on what is considered one of Europe’s largest record shows, I think I’ll squash the idea.  While much of the original Vertigo Swirls are still missing from my collection except for Sabbath, I can console myself with second issue UK Spaceship labels.  I have been fortunate to find most Pink Islands except for Nick Drake with most in the $15 to $35 dollar category however like your self I’ve been seeking them for the last 30 years.


In general, I simply cannot justify paying $100+ prices for records that will most likely be in less than mint condition.  Would I love a collection of swirl label Gentle Giant pressings, sure but the prices would have to be $100 or less and I don’t think that’s very likely.

Altanpsx's picture

Hi sir, i have been in utrecht,and i had seen you with a hard days night lp in your hand, in a second you were vanished. i really wished to meet you there, i live in Turkey, maybe this would be the only chance to meet you in person. Whatever it was nice to know that you are there, because in my opinion every vinyl collector/audiophile ...etc must see this fair, it is amazing maybe millions of records there, and they are waiting for you to buy.

Michael Fremer's picture

However, I don't remember having a copy of "A Hard Day's Night" in my hand....well actually now that i think about it, i saw a United Artists copy priced ridiculously high for an unlistenable record and maybe I picked it up to see what edition it was... but even that I don't remember. Some Turkish audiophiles I once met said they'd have me over but that hasn't happened. If it does perhaps we will have an opportunity to meet.

Jody's picture

I guess you had to miss the WFMU record fair for this... it was pretty huge also, but everything was so crammed, you could hardly walk down ailes without bumping into people flipping through bins. I see the video you made of the Utrecht fair, and everything looks so spacious.