Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
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Toledo remembers local icon on Record Store Day

Event celebrates late Culture Clash Records owner Pat O’Connor

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    Pat O'Connor, late owner of Culture Clash, sells vinyl albums and CDs at his booth at a record show in 2010.

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    Marcia O' Connor, wife the late Pat O' Connor, and family friend KC St. John organized a music festival in memory of the owner of Culture Clash Records. The festival is Saturday at 16 venues across Toledo.

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There’s an adage that goes: “People might not remember what you did or said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.”

Many would say that statement applies to the late Pat O’Connor.

“I always knew my husband was wonderful, and I’ve found there’s so many things he did,” said Mr. O’Connor’s wife, Marcia. “I knew he touched a lot of people’s lives, but I didn’t know the extent.”

The 10th anniversary of Record Store Day kicks off Saturday as independent record stores celebrate their role in the community by having special vinyl and CD releases and promotional products made exclusively for the day. The event is celebrated nationally and internationally.

VIDEO: Blade Briefing on Record Store Day, music festival

This year’s Record Store Day is a bit different in Toledo, ironically involving one of the founding members of the independent record store celebration: Mr. O’Connor.

On Tuesday, Toledo City Council unanimously passed a resolution declaring April 22, as well as every third Saturday in April thereafter, as Pat O’Connor Day in the city.

It was an honor to have known [O’Connor] and to be able to have called him my friend,” said Steven Steel, Toledo City Council president, during Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s very appropriate, as he was instrumental in creating Record Store Day nationally, that we here at home continue to recognize Record Store Day on an annual basis as officially Pat O’Connor Day.”

To coincide with the day’s honoring of the former record store owner, Ms. O’Connor and KC Saint John, assistant general manager of Ye Olde Durty Bird, created the Pat O’Connor Music and Arts Festival. The day includes 16 Toledo venues from bars and restaurants to art galleries, hosting live music in honor of Mr. O’Connor. The events are free.

Mr. Saint John said he and Ms. O’Connor started planning for the festival at the end of January.

“For us to plan this in three months is unheard of, but it happened,” Mr. Saint John said of Saturday’s celebration. “That’s where Pat comes in. He’s a guy in the sky pointing down at us and saying ‘This is what’s going to happen.’ Everyone was very responsive.”

He said each venue will feature local talent, whether a full band or an artist doing face painting.

“We’re trying to get it to be a celebration of life, music and art in Toledo,” he said. “We’re trying to get the rest of Toledo more aware of their music scene and the good talent that’s out there. This is to raise awareness for what’s going on in a very potential city.”

Ryan Bunch, 34, a friend of Mr. O’Connor and employee at the Arts Commission, gave a brief speech to city council Tuesday. He spoke of the impact Mr. O’Connor had on people, including Jonathan Poneman, co-founder of independent record label Sub Pop Records, which signed Nirvana during the late ’80s.

He said Poneman grew up down the street from Boogie Records and spoke in interviews about how discovering new music at the store influenced his life.

“When I discovered this, I was blown away and when I brought it up to Pat, he answered with his signature and wry smile simply saying, ‘Yeah, man, it’s pretty cool,’ ” Mr. Bunch said with a laugh. “I think it’s huge that council has recognized him. He was someone who was so humble and was such a dedicated fan of the city, fan of local businesses, and just beliefs. Those are things a city council should want people to have.”

The Pat O’Connor Music and Arts Festival takes place throughout the day as musicians and artists participate at various times. Donations can be sent to the Pat O’Connor Memorial Fund to Marcia O’Connor at P.O. Box 174, Luna Pier, Mich., 48157. Donations can also be made at Culture Clash Records.

“Many people come up to me and talk about how wonderful [it was that] he helped them to move forward with their dreams,” Ms. O’Connor said. “One of Pat’s friends said to me, ‘You know what, Marcia? You’re the one who gave him the strength and stability to help other people.’ I never thought about it that way and it just really touched me.

“I’m not Pat, but what I’m trying to do is have a memorial fund and to support local arts, music and cool people,” she added. “I’m humbled and honored for this.”

For a full list of participating venues, visit facebook.com/​POMAFToledo.

Contact Geoff Burns at: gburns@theblade.com or 419-724-6110.

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