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The Story Behind Coachella’s Onsite Record Store

Spring is coming and for many people, that means one thing…time to get Coachella ready!

There are so many reasons to love Coachella including great music, fun people and cool attractions. One thing many festival-goers look forward to is visiting the onsite record store. There they will find the countless vinyl releases that owner Alex Rodriguez has spent much of his life searching in crates and bins around the country to find.

Rodriguez, now around 40 years old, started collecting vinyl when he was 14 years old. He would search through thrift stores to find albums that he could buy for just pennies. He would then set up a stand outside of punk shows and sell his finds for a slightly marked up price.

Over the years, Rodriguez has developed a skill for knowing what will sell and what won’t. He bases this on the aesthetics of the album cover as well as the content, i.e. how good the album is and the popularity of the artist.

Eventually, Rodriguez’s skill helped him become a successful entrepreneur. In 2006, he opened the Glass House Record Store in the heart of Pomona, CA’s Art Colony. The store buys, sells and trades used vinyl. They also carry accessories like sleeves, record cases, t-shirts and stickers.

The shop also offers pre-sale tickets for Goldenvoice presented shows at the Glass House and Pomona Fox Theater.

The Goldenvoice connection is part of what led to Rodriguez’s other business project, the opening of the Coachella onsite record store.

Coachella has a long history of bringing vendors in to set up an onsite record store but one year, the arrangement fell through. Rodriguez was pretty much thrown into taking on the responsibility when they turned to him and said, “You have two months to make a store”. Fortunately, Rodriguez was up to the challenge.

Today, Rodriguez continues to search high and low for items he can sell in his stores. During the week, he travels the country in his car, looking for vinyl that is in demand. This is becoming more challenging as it is harder and harder to find records he doesn’t already own in his 22,000 plus collection.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed and, in 2017, he was carrying an extra passenger on his road trip excursions. Vincent Vittorio, founder and CEO of ‘Life is My Movie Entertainment’ decided that Rodriguez’s career was documentary worthy. Therefore, he decided to accompany Rodriguez on his journeys, learning more about the art of record collection and the valuable bonds that develop between collectors.

The movie, “Record Safari” is scheduled to be released next month (March 2020). In addition to documenting Rodriguez’s journeys, it also includes interviews with Lenny Kaye, Monalisa, Oliver Wang, Valerie Calano, Sean “Slug” Daily, Anthony “Ant” Davis and more.

This spring will be an exciting time for record collectors. Those that are Coachella bound will get an opportunity to visit Rodriguez at his onsite shop. The movie will be another way collectors can learn more about their passion.

Whether you will be out in the fields or listening to music and watching movies quietly at home, it’s sure to be a great time for vinyl!

Photo credit: OC Weekly

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