BYO Vinyl Night/Potluck

An event to listen to music & eat food in good company.

This article was tagged with: Hosting Ideas

There are 796 words in this article, and it will probably take you less than 4 minutes to read it.

This article was published 2023-10-30 00:00:00 -0400, which makes this post and me old when I published it.


Basic Premise

Everyone brings 1-3 records and/or a dish to share with others.

My Planning Considerations

  • Bringing multiple records allows some variety and for there to be more to choose from.
  • This event was set later in the night so I wanted there to be food for everyone to eat. I thought about cooking for everyone, but cooking for so many people is a lot, so I instead opted for a potluck.
    • Sometimes I like to provide a theme for the potluck, like I’ve done “one-bite eats” before, but I thought that it would be too complicated to be a BYO vinyl night and a themed potluck.
    • My aunt suggested that the vinyl night could have a retro diner kind of food theme to go with the idea of vinyl, like burgers and milkshakes. This was likely an association with the golden age of vinyl being in the past, and I did like the suggestion, but I think that it would have constrained the food too much.
  • “and/or” is a very important point because even if someone is not a vinyl collector, they are still contributing to the party by bringing food to share. Additionally, it gives people incentive to bring vinyl because they don’t have to feel pressured to bring something if they are already bringing a record.

Event Retrospective

  • Don’t sweat the space too much/you never know how many people you can accommodate until you try.
    • I live in a one-bedroom apartment that has a decent amount of space but I was still stressing over the number of people I was inviting because I didn’t want the space to feel too cramped. In total it was 15 people, 15 guests and me, it didn’t feel too crowded and not everyone stayed for the whole time or came on time.
    • I was mostly worried about people having places to sit, but I feel like a lot of times people like to stand up to talk so I think that seating is something that should definitely be taken into consideration, but is not the end-all be-all.
  • Playing music on vinyl requires someone to be in charge of it.
    • Vinyl is a fun excuse to build an event around music, but someone needs to be aware of the music because you have to flip vinyl about every twenty minutes, and then switch to a new record when that one is done.
    • If people had sent in the records ahead of time we could have maybe sequenced them ahead of time. However, in some ways you are trying to both react and influence the vibe with the music, so the sequencing should be mostly improvisational. You also want to be able to poll people and take requests of what is being played.
  • Plan for most people not bringing records.
    • Transporting vinyl can be a bit of a pain, so most people will usually only bring one vinyl. This is completely fine if you have lots of people who are bringing vinyl, but if not, you may have to dip into your personal collection to play during the party.
    • While a record collection is seeing a resurgence, that doesn’t mean that a lot of people are into it as a hobby. You can certainly tailor your invite list to people who are collectors, but I don’t think that you could fill an entire invite list.
  • Lean into the idea of it being a BYO (Bring-Your-Own) vinyl night.
    • I wish I had people explain why they brought the records that they did, and even if someone didn’t bring a record that they would say a few words about an album they would bring if they owned it or something like that.
    • Music is not necessarily a party activity, it is mostly for setting the mood or for providing points for conversation.
  • Find a way to bridge gaps and bring people together.
    • It is always hard to bridge gaps between groups of people because when you are the one inviting people. You know everyone but the other people most likely will not know each other, so you have to make introductions and try to mention points of commonality in order to jump start conversation.
    • A friend of mine had a conversation card game that she was able to facilitate to bring people together and get to know each other better.

Example dishes that were brought

  1. Pickled Jalapeño Cream Cheese Crackers
    • Lactose free cream cheese
    • Gluten free crackers
  2. Charcuterie Board
  3. Gluten-Free Brownies
  4. Melona Popsicles
  5. Chicken Bacon Ranch Sliders
  6. Roasted Vegetables
  7. Chips (Tortilla, Pita, Potato) & Dip (Hummus, French Onion Dip) Spread

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