It doesn’t matter that Cinco de Mayo actually takes place on Monday. In Providence, apparently, celebrations start on Saturday. On a warm (but not vinyl-sensitive warm) May 3rd, hundreds of families, college kids, and serious crate diggers flooded Downtown to celebrate at the third annual Providence Rock and Roll Yard Sale. The event ran from 12-6; here’s the lowdown on the five hours I stayed.
The Food Let’s start with something non-music related: tacos. If you wanted lunch at the Yard Sale, that was pretty much your only option. Restaurants, like Talullah’s, and food trucks, like Poco Loco, served crowd-pleasing, traditional versions of this Mexican meal. I fulfilled my taco-craving with Pork Belly Tacos from Ken’s Ramen, a newly-opened downtown ramen shop; the result was everything you would want in a taco.
The Music Remember when DJs actually played vinyl? That’s how things spun downtown, as classic Mexican tunes met hip-hop beats and face-painted dancers twirled around. Later in the afternoon, the Brown Mariachi band continued the theme with more danceable Spanish songs…and more dancing!
The Records I love tacos and I love live music but, for me, the Rock and Roll Yard Sale is about the records. I was impressed by the variety of vinyl venders, ranging in prices and genres. Positioned at the front of the street, What Cheere Records + Antiques (my favorite record shop, hands down) brought their store to the streets. They sell mint-condition records at high prices and features pretty much every genre you’d want. Throw in top-notch service and the occasional rare-find, and you’ve got the perfect record store.
Looking for a deal? Another seller had boxes upon boxes of bargain-price records. Like, $2-a-record bargain price. If you followed the back alleys, there were more record purveyors to be found. Even the DJ of the day had a solid collection of 70’s rock, electronica, and more on sale. Elsewhere, negotiations were made and bargains were settled on.
My Purchases With so much to choose from, it was hard to decide on what to buy. In the end I settled on three seminal pop-rock masterpieces: Talking Head’s Remain in Light, The Clash’s Sandinista!, and Vampire Weekend’s eponymous debut. What did I do when I left the Rock and Roll Yard Sale? Listen, listen, listen.
Basically, if you own a record player (and even if you don’t) this was the place to be. As the day proved, vinyl isn’t going anywhere.