Crystal Coast Record Show scheduled for September 3 at the History Museum in Morehead City | New


MORE HEAD – Pop culture and local history will collide when the Crystal Coast Record Show takes over the Carteret County History Museum in Morehead City on Labor Day weekend.

Organized by Phil’s Music Exchange of Wilson and Rocky Mount, the show will feature thousands of vinyl records, 45s, CDs, cassettes, DVDs, books, posters and other musical memorabilia donated by dozens of vendors across East Carolina North. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 3 at the History Museum, 1008 Arendell St., Morehead City. Admission, with full access to the museum for all attendees, is free.

Scheduled participants include Wilson and Rocky Mount’s Phil’s Music Exchange, Beaufort’s Gyre Records, Atlantic Beach’s Wino Records, Tarboro’s Country Feedback, Jacksonville’s Retro Records and Winterville’s Double Cheese Records, as well as many other independent dealers.

“We see collectors of all age groups, genres and formats at our shows,” said organizer Phil Sabella, 47. an impressive variety. The highlights of the shows seem to be hard rock/heavy metal, jazz, blues and classic country, but all genres are always well represented. When I talk to customers about our shows, I only jokingly say this very true statement: “Our vendors offer everything from classical to death metal and everything in between. We usually have several hundred customers coming in and out of our shows throughout the day. I expect the same for the Morehead City show.

While scheduling a record-breaking show over Labor Day weekend at a history museum might seem like an odd choice of date and location, Sabella says the event lasted a year.

“We chose to kick off our first Carteret County show on Labor Day weekend for several reasons,” he said. “First, it was honestly the only date that fit our professional and personal calendar. Labour, and the vast majority told us they’re seeing an uptick in store traffic and profitability this weekend. Locals also told us that launching on Labor Day weekend was a great idea. because they too want to do something different. Everything in life is a gamble, but Labor Day weekend won’t keep music collectors away from this event. If anything, I think it will improve the show.


As for the location, Sabella said the Carteret County History Museum was “just a perfect fit.”

“We scouted several different locations in Swansboro, Cedar Point, Emerald Isle and Morehead City. Nothing seemed quite right. They were either too small or too expensive to meet our needs. When looking for venues for an event like this, you’re looking for the ‘computing’ factor, where you walk into the room and everything falls into place Steve Anderson, the museum director, understood perfectly what we wanted to do and was very happy to have us .

“It means a lot, because you want to partner with someone who believes in the event,” he added. “The History Museum suits our needs perfectly, and the cool thing is that when customers come to the record fair, they get free entry, not only to the fair, but also to the museum. Families can make a day out of it and there is something for everyone. The museum also has ample parking, which is a huge plus.”

The Carteret County History Museum is described as “a small museum featuring artifacts and exhibits depicting local history” and includes a gift shop and cafe. Run by the Carteret County Historical Society, the museum is well worth a stop and occasionally hosts other events. But this is the first time he has hosted the Crystal Coast Record Show.

Thirty tables are available for the show (some vendors can set up multiple tables), and seats are filling up fast. Payment (cash, check, credit cards, PayPal, etc.) is vendor specific. Free coffee and donuts (courtesy of Morehead City’s Mug Shots Lounge and Emerald Isle’s Glazed-N-Dazed) will be provided to vendors when they set up on the morning of the show, and Sabella is working to have a food truck on site to serve refreshments during the day.

Sabella also thanks Meredith Dillon, Regional Sales Manager for Crown Hotel and Travel Management, for her help in organizing the show, and Palm Suites in Atlantic Beach for offering discounted rates to CLS vendors and guests.

If the show proves a resounding success, additional shows can be expected, tentatively scheduled for December 3 and April 15, 2023. For more information or to reserve a table, call Phil’s Music Exchange at 252-291-8463 or visit online at www


Sabella admits to having been bitten by the music virus from an early age. But only in recent years has he been able to turn a hobby – collecting and selling records – from a side hustle to a full-time gig. And it all started with Billy Joel.

“’Glass Houses’ is the first album I remember listening to from start to finish. I was 6 years old at my friend’s house. He put the record on, and I just remember watching it spin and absorbing the music. Of course, at 6 years old, I didn’t “understand” music, but something in me loved it. Being from Long Island, I’ve always been a huge Billy Joel fan.

“The first album I ever bought with my own money was on cassette: ‘Colour By Numbers’ by Culture Club. I was in fourth grade. If you remember, it was a huge album for the time. The first CD I bought was Def Leppard’s “On Through The Night” Their debut album, which came out in 1980, but I bought it in 1988.

“As a kid I was into everything from Fat Boys and Run DMC to Billy Joel to Twisted Sister. My freshman year of high school was when the hard rock/heavy metal bug kicked in, and I’ve been hooked ever since.”

It took a leap of faith — and a lot of prayer — before Sabella and his wife, Jenny, decided to put her nursing career on hold and turn a part-time side gig into a full-time venture.

“Phil’s Music Exchange started as an online-only business when I was working full-time as a nurse,” he said. “Business boomed and continued to grow. I then rented a 10 by 20 foot air-conditioned unit from a store and customers came in to shop by appointment.

“Once the pandemic hit (March 2020) and after much thought and prayer, my wife and I decided to transition my nursing career (at Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf) to full-time entrepreneurship. We opened our physical store in November 2020.”

The business did well enough that Sabella had hosted the Wilson Record Show three or four times a year since then and was looking to expand.

“We wanted to grow this division of our business, and I’ve had my sights set on the Crystal Coast for a second record venue for about a year now,” he said.


As for his bestsellers, Phil breaks it down as follows:

“If I were to compare unit to unit, I sell more hard rock/heavy metal CDs than anything else, and that includes my physical and online stores. There’s also a resurgence in cassette tapes that I’ve seen happening since I have the stocking store It’s interesting to watch the different age groups in my store and the formats they buy People aged 35+ buy everything They buy CDs, cassettes and vinyls but customers aged 10 to mid 30s only buy vinyls The vast majority really aren’t interested in CDs at all I have teenagers who come into the store and tell me say they’re considering going into cassettes. Harry Styles’ last album had a cassette pressing, so that tells you where the moving industry is at. Anything retro is now cool!”

Contact Chuck Waters at [email protected]


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