Kirsten Poch and the Beatnik Bus

Vinyl appears to be making a comeback in Calgary these last few years.

Recently Calgary has become home to the only vinyl pressing plant in Canada, new record stores pop up frequently and now we have the first mobile record store - The Beatnik Bus.  

One of Calgary’s newer vinyl sellers, the Beatnik Bus offers something a little different. It’s a vinyl store on wheels. Owner Kirsten Poch grew up listening to vinyl and helping her dad grow his collection. It was always her father's dream to open up his own record store.

Her father had been collecting vinyl records for almost 35 years. His inventory came from garage sales, thrift stores and his friends. He hoped that after collecting this inventory that in his retirement he could open a brick and mortar record store. “A really funky shop out in the interior of BC, maybe in the style of an old Texaco gas station” she explains.

A few years ago her father suffered a massive heart attack and due to his health he could no longer make his dream a reality. This is when Kirsten found a unique opportunity - she would take over his collection and start running her own mobile shop. Though her dad now spends most of his time on the sidelines he's proud of what the bus has become. Even if his dream has now "materialized in this different way.”

Poch says it’s the 18 to 35 generation that is buying the most vinyl, she says that they “have had music the most accessible to them". At "just at a click of a button right? We can download music anywhere! It’s so accessible that a lot of people are feeling this yearning to connect a little bit more to the music. To have a big tangible copy that they need to sit down and experience.”

Poch explains vinyl has always been popular with collectors and that collecting vinyl will never grow old.  It’s popular for everyone to collect vinyl now, whether it’s old or new. It’s not just indie bands that press their albums on vinyl anymore, you can find almost any artist on vinyl now - One Direction, Taylor Swift - they all release new albums as records as well. This very recent re-popularization of vinyl for all genres, Poch says will let “what’s old become new again.”

It's not too hard for Poch to sell her dad's collection though, she says that they were "always bought to be resold”. One record that she will never sell will always remind her of listening to 45's on her family's old jukebox with her dad and her sister - a fifties soul song called It's All in the Game. “Both my sister and I would dance with our dad to this song and he would always say this is his favourite” Poch explains. “He say he'd play it at our weddings and at his funeral so that record is just sentimental to all of us.”

Now that it's summer again you can catch the Beatnik Bus around the city and at local festivals.