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Vinyl Conflict celebrates handmade art of zines

A portrait of Bobby in his store
Shaban Athuman
VPM News
Bobby Egger, owner of Vinyl Conflict Record Store, is photographed on Thursday, July 6, 2023 in Richmond, Virginia. The record store is hosting a Zine Festival to coincide with First Friday.

As part of First Friday, the local record store will host its first zine fest.

For 15 years, Vinyl Conflict has been a haven for Richmond punk-rock fans and music lovers of all kinds. Last year, the store moved from its original location in Oregon Hill to a larger space in downtown Richmond: 300 E Grace St.

Store owner Bobby Egger said in addition to having more space for the store’s extensive collection of punk ephemera and general music merchandise, the Monroe Ward location provides a better connection to community events. Now, the store also hosts monthly events on the first Friday of each month.

Janine Bell, vice president of the Richmond Arts District Association, wrote via email that First Friday events provide significant financial support for local artists and businesses: “Art is business, and the Richmond Arts District is at the center of how our city moves.”

In addition to attracting shoppers, Egger also sees the art walk as a unique opportunity to showcase his store’s multifaceted culture. In previous months, Vinyl Conflict has hosted a restaurant pop-up, a black-and-white photography exhibition and a market full of handmade goods.

“I'm trying to make sure we're not having the same show every month.” said Egger. “I'm trying to show different elements of a subculture.”

For July, the store is focusing on the art of zines — self-published magazines, usually focused on niche topics. The store’s first “zine fest” will feature work created by Richmond-area writers and artists, curated by store manager Olivia Stone.

Stone said she was inspired to showcase zines, because she remembered attending the annual Richmond Zine Fest in 2016 after first moving to the city.

“I thought it was so cool,” said Stone. “I grew up in Denver, and we didn't really have anything like that.”

As an artist, Stone wants to use the store’s zine fest to spread independently created artwork. While curating the upcoming show, she focused on the topics of music, community outreach and mental health.

For Stone and Vinyl Conflict, the event displays another facet of this business.

“I've always felt like a record store — it's really a community space,” said Stone. “It's people coming to not only look at records, but to share ideas, and music and art in general. It's kind of that third place for a lot of people.”

Stone said she hopes people who attend the event can see the diversity and inclusivity of Richmond’s arts scene.

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