Fair Play is quickly becoming Manchester’s coolest evening record fair. Situated in the heart of the Northern Quarter, Fair Play takes place on the first Thursday of the month in the Behind Closed Doors basement.
Organised by the Fair Play team at Dig Deep Records, the record fairs are as much a social event as an opportunity to unearth that gem you’ve been looking for.
Fair Play packs a room full of vinyl available to purchase, with rotating sellers each month, so each event is different.
Running since last October, Fair Play attracts sellers from all over the county with the aim of bringing some fresh records into the city. Crates of boogie, funk, disco, soul, nu disco, edits, latin, jazz, house, techno, DnB, hip hop, and afrobeat, rub shoulders with rock, indie, prog, folk, reggae, and dub!
Sellers this month include Vinyl Lovers, Andy’s Records, Black Bicycle, Boogie 1 Records, El Diablo’s Social Club, Custard Pie Records, BBE, and Dig Deep Records.
Doors open from 5pm, with DJs selecting a soundtrack of upbeat funk, soul, disco, and boogie, playing well into the night.
Entry is free, but you can support the cause by buying a drink from the well stocked bar.
For February, we sat down with Frankie Fairplay from Dig Deep Records…
What’s the name of your shop and where are you based?
Dig Deep Records, we are based in Preston.
What kind of music do you sell?
We specialise in Disco, Nu Disco, Funk, Soul, Jazz, House, Afrobeat, Latin, Hip Hop, Techno, Boogie, Bass, Broken Beat, Nu Jazz, Breaks, and everything in between.
How did you get into selling records?
I did my work experience in a record shop and loved it so always dreamt of having a record store of my own. At one point about 15 years ago I was close to buying the local shop from the owner but it was at the height of the mp3 boom and the bank manager advised against it. The internet has since changed the way we buy records and with the recent vinyl revival and the support from some good friends I felt it was time to give it a go. We finally set up shop a couple of years ago and we have not looked back since.
Is your stock all new or is some of it used?
We predominantly sell minty fresh new records but we do also have some used disco, boogie, funk and soul.
What makes Fair Play special?
It’s held in a proper underground setting which generates a lovely vibe. Lots of different music styles are catered for, and all the sellers are really sound – they’re always up for a bit of a haggle. We have dedicated listening booths so you can try before you buy. The DJs are always on point and the drinks menu is great. It’s not many places you can have a dig in the crates, with a beer or cocktail in hand, whilst listening to some of the finest music you will find in Manchester on a Thursday night.
What are the 3 hottest records in your store right now?
Orange Tree Edits – Eastern Edits Vol. 1, Crazy P’s Hot Bath Re-edits, and an official reissue of the much sought after Keep The Fire Burning by Gwen McCrae.
What is your favourite record of all-time?
So hard to pick. It changes day by day. It could be something electronic and soulful like Carl Craig’s At Les, or it could be a disco banger like John Morales version of Bad Luck or Weekend by Class Action, or the instrumental of Can You Feel It by Mr Fingers. Or maybe it’s Home Is Where The Hated is by Esther Phillips, or Find A Way by A Tribe Called Quest. Or something dark and cranky like Dummy by Portishead.
What is the most valuable item you’ve ever sold?
We don’t do silly prices so it’s probably the Fela Kuti – Vinyl Box Set 4: Compiled By Erykah Badu that we are selling at £79.99
What does your own record collection look like?
A lot of disco, house, funk, soul, hip hop, jazz, afrobeat, techno, nu disco etc. The kind of thing we sell in the store.
What has been your best record find?
Most recently it’s possibly the Todd Terje – Greatest Hits L.P. It has tracks on there like his edit of Chic’s I Want Your Love, the original pressing goes for £50. Not a lot of other places have the LP so I was pleased when I spotted it in a mate’s box last month and got straight onto it.
What is the best bit of working in a record store?
It’s definitely the people you meet. It’s a pleasure to pull out a bespoke pile of records for a customer you know and see their faces light up when they hear something that moves them.
What is your number one tip for buyers?
Dig deep! Check the things you have not heard of. And always check the back of the box.