This is what Vlad, Mihnea and Alex (or Boris, how friends call him), local entrepreneurs with a history in event-organizing industry, told me when I asked them about the one phrase that would best describe Vinyl, Rum, Tapas & Wine.
I’ve decided to let everyone know that right now there is a massive trend regarding social entrepreneurship and a lot of people are seizing the moment of doing something great for themselves by creating that social-something for others. This can be considered a cornerstone for Bucharest’s social life but more than that I truly believe that it will contribute to the city’s cultural development.
How did it all start?
Every person has its own passions, ours are related to music and people. Having friends and social happy people enjoy the right music in the right place with the right ingredients is something that drives us. Apart from that, there’s the analogue. The whole vinyl experience, but most of all the musical discovery. There’s this feeling when entering a record store, like entering a magic world where you can just completely forget about anything and discover art and stories, in the form of music that cannot be found digitally. I’ll soon talk about the rum too.
Tell me more about the events, when did you decided to make your idea come to life?
One day I was having a good time with an old friend of mine, sipping some rum and listening to some 50's – 60's records from our personal archive and we were thinking how nice it would be to promote a community that enjoys this kind of music exactly how it was made to be enjoyed – with fun, in a friendly and non-pretentious atmosphere, with quality drinks. We saw an opportunity to start promoting small but frequent events that are vibrant and dynamic, vinyl only, Not only do we play vinyl, but we promote the idea of curators rather than DJ's – enjoying the music and discovering its artistic and original side. We also thought that building a niche concept behind the drinks, in terms of rum, would add value and uniqueness, Vlad says. Boris and I have a history together when it comes to organising parties and we said: why not and let's give it a try?
…and the tapas and wine?
We think that they bind very well together: wine tells a story, rum makes you dance. Tapas initially appeared as a need for having something to eat, but without distracting you from a conversation, which is exactly what we were looking for. We got inspired on the tapas side by a place in Warsaw, I don’t remember the name, but people serving small bites while standing and socialising sounded like a must for our concept.
How were the previous editions?
The first editions were unexpectedly great. From the beginning we invited everyone interested in bringing some records from their collection, to showcase them. As we mentioned before, we don’t promote DJ's and are more like curators – people with a vast musical knowledge and vinyl collectors. The curator is a person in charge with the record selection. The rhythm that we promote is usually jazz, funk, soul, rock’n’roll and world music, such as Caribbean, Brazilian and African music. Anything that goes with the rum.
How do you promote yourself?
Through recommendations. Friends were bringing friends, people with same interests, similar values and this creates a great atmosphere. A reason good enough to start spreading the word. And, of course, through Facebook.
How will it evolve?
Our aim is to develop a platform that serves the community, and to keep constantly growing this community. We are expecting to maintain the trend with the small frequent events, because in the end what we offer are good memories in a friendly environment. We imagine organising different types of events in the future and other kinds of gatherings that retain our core value – friends discovering music in a real, social, friendly manner.
Speaking about the environment, where is the event taking place?
We’re looking for unconventional places, where you wouldn’t normally drink some rum or wine, unique places to call them like that. We were organising the weekly events at Bagel Brunch, a very funky and trendy bagel & more place downtown Bucharest. We don’t want to be a pop-up event, we’re looking to develop long term partnerships with the locations in which we organise it.
How do you see this will influence people’s way of going out in the near future?
Well, currently we invite our community on Wednesdays, just a short well-deserved mid-week break for socialising and boosting up the rest of the week. There are people coming after work just to say hi to an old friend, having a glass of Appleton and returning to their family. Some friends were bringing their kids, so anything can happen. It’s very European, so to speak. We hope to slowly change the way people in Bucharest think about going out, and to provide them with interesting opportunities. Sky is the limit, tells Boris.
Both laughing: The event at the moment is self sustainable, but our passion is in developing more and more, while retaining the values and quality. Looking backwards in 3 years from now on what would you like to see? I would like to see a big community of friendly people sharing our interests, with more places where you can listen to music played from vinyl and drink fine rum. We’d like to see many people engage in discovering and enjoying good music, and we’d like to facilitate this movement. How do you plan to get there? As I was saying VRTW is a social platform, so we want to make use of that by engaging the people. We are offering them truly artistic musical experiences and the possibility to meet new and interesting people. We like to say that bad news spread fast, but good news even faster. We’ll slowly develop on top of that, as we see the community is ready for more and more initiatives.
No. Never! Vinyl is physical, ephemeral and because of that every vinyl is a piece of art. Digital is fast and portable, but vinyl offers musical discovery and feeling. That can hardly be equivalent with something else. It’s like the more you hear, the more you want. It absorbs you. That’s it! Fact: In 2014, vinyl sales went up by 38% vs previous year. (Source: here)
How is the vinyl market in Bucharest?
It’s trending right now, Vlad says, not too many places from where you can buy vinyl, but there’s an increasing number of those who collect it so I don’t think the boom is far away. I personally wish that this type of events will transform from exceptions to regular happenings and I would like to salute their pioneering idea. Follow Vinyl, Rum, Tapas & Wine here
Photos taken by Adrian Varzaru: www.adrianvarzaru.eu
- Bogdan -