Bendigo Record, Comic and Toy Fair

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Bendigo Record, Comic and Toy Fair

Fancy yourself a bit of a collectable or lover of records, comics or toys? If you answered yes to any of those, then you need to get yourself down to the Bendigo Record, Comic and Toy Fair to pump up your collection. We had a chat with organiser Peter Pascoe on what to expect on the day.
Hi Peter, thanks so much for chatting to Forte, what are you up to at the moment?
I’m busy receiving bookings for the next fair, sorting out the boring behind-the-scenes preparation, and I’ll be attending a few fairs in Melbourne leading up to the next Bendigo one on March 22.
Has the event grown much since your first one?
It has! The number of dealers doubled, and the number of visitors nearly doubled from the first event held in March last year. We had our first interstate traders drive down from Sydney for the event and around 20% of the visitors were from outside of the immediate Bendigo area. We had visitors from NSW, Queensland and South Australia, as well as from all over Victoria. Close to a thousand visitors came to check out what was on offer.
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In this digital age, why do you think more traditional forms of entertainment such as comics and records seem to be growing in interest?
Digital releases of music, or comics, have many advantages, not the least of which is the ability to store entire catalogs of releases on relatively cheap media, or to have access to the same. But I think something fundamentally is lost as well, and that is how we access music or comics digitally. There’s a tendency to create as large a base of music or comics as possible, but how much of it do we actually read or listen to compared to the physical copies we own? My ipod has around 40,000 songs on it – I would have listened to perhaps around 10% of it, truth be told. Whereas I’ve listened to the entirety of my record and CD collection at least once or twice, and in most cases many more times. The same goes for my comic collection. We pay more attention when we purchase music or comics in the physical form.
There’s a bit of ritual involved in acquiring a record or a comic that prepares the mind and makes it more receptive to the message being transmitted by the artists involved. There’s also the ritual of looking after something you’ve chased after, whether it’s keeping records scratch free, or bagging and boarding comics for future preservation. That can become obsessive, not that that’s a bad thing at all. Sometimes there’s an element of a gamble with records and comics. Something might push the value of a particular comic or record up, and if you’re sitting on a copy, it’s nice to know it’s worth something – either as a sellable item down the track, or just a sigh of relief that you got your copy before it became real expensive. Though there’s no such luck with a digital copy.
What are some of the exhibitors/stallholders you will have at the fair and who are some of your favourites?
As mentioned, the Melbourne Graphic Novel scene will have an expanded panel this time, and I’m glad to hear that positive words about the September Fair reached receptive listeners over the break. The full size Tardis exhibit will make a return, there’s a new stall from a local sculptor who makes pop culture busts and statues and the likes (ask him about the current price on the Hellboy bust!). There’ll be more comic back-issue dealers this time around, which I’m very keen on checking out if I get a chance to grab a break from running the show. One record dealer who specialises in Japanese vinyl is making another trip to Japan to stock up for the Fair. It’s all good!
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What would you like to see for the future of the event?
I’d like to expand the fair as naturally as I can. I’d like to see more exhibits, as the Dalek and Tardis exhibits were popular at the September Fair. I’d like to encourage the pop-culture aspect of the Fair while keeping the heart of the record, comic and toy stalls prominent. I’m also keen to get charities on board, whether it’s a tin-shake representative or something a bit more interactive. I reckon it’s a great opportunity for folk to come along and check out what’s on offer, but also to throw a couple of coins at some causes that could really use some extra help. We had the CFA park a vehicle and accept donations at the September Fair, and the event was a fundraiser for community radio station Phoenix FM, and I’d like to think that we as a community care enough to support some worthy causes while indulging in our collecting passions!
I can be contacted at for more info, and we have a Facebook page up and running with everything else you need to know.
When&Where: Bendigo Exhibition Centre – March 22